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Alfonso P - Liberating Act Project

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  Pacheco 1 University of Costa Rica LM  –  1481  Alfonso Pacheco Prof. Monica Bradley 23 June 2016 In a society that favors white heterosexual male people, women, homosexuals, lesbians, non-white people and trans people suffer on a daily basis from discrimination, bullying and alienation. The hegemonic group has a variety of privileges that the minorities lack. To understand what minorities suffer is to get closer to a better understanding of both the world and the human condition. Harvey Milk, a gay American politician, once said on an interview that “rights are won only by those who make their voices heard. ”  As a former musician from an activist left wing punk rock band, a father of a baby girl, and a student I have always tried to take a political stand in order to support different causes that involve minorities by spreading the word on different matters or, through music, giving a voice to the voiceless. I believe that people have the right to be themselves without having to answer questions about it. However, although I try to be as socially aware as possible, it is difficult to truly understand what others go through unless you get into their skins, and even so, it is not certain that you will ever fully understand their difficulties, anxieties, or feelings. Therefore, to be able to go further into understanding what others deal with on a daily basis and to be able to improve myself as a human being, I decided to try to deconstruct the image that frames me as a white heterosexual man in order to put myself into a homosexual man’s shoes  for one day.  Pacheco 2 My project was performed with the help of Elkin Gomez and my daughter on June 16 th  at Mall San Pedro. My goal was to understand the struggles and difficulties that homosexual couples suffer on a public space and to analyze the social behavior towards a homosexual couple with a daughter. The reason why we decided to go to Mall San Pedro is because as a social place where people gather, it contains elements present in Costa Rican society such as people from different ages and backgrounds, security guards, clerks, customers, taxi drivers, etc. that are key for the purpose of this project. In addition, as a country ruled by a patriarchal society, most of these people have been molded under the patriarchal sphere. According to Johnson, “At its core, patriarchy is a set of symbols and ideas that make up a culture embodied by everything from the contentment of everyday conversation to literature and film” (94).  Thus, the reception that we had while hugging, for example, was not well-seen by most of the people inside the Mall. Male adolescents were looking at us while we were hugging on the food court in a negative way. Elderly people gave us a disrespectful look to the point I overheard an elderly man saying that we were a disgrace to god and my daughter was a “poor child” bec ause of us. On the other hand, we saw a gay couple who smiled at us and were really friendly to my daughter. This proofs that minorities relate to each other due to the connection that they have due to past experiences. In addition, when we passed by a security guard, he or she followed us with his or her looks in a non-friendly manner. The fact that the people in charge of our security inside the mall looked at us as if we were some sort of threat made me feel offended and frustrated due to the fact that I was not only understanding what homosexual men have to deal with, but also I was trying to figure out what was going on inside these people’s minds to act in such a disrespectful way.  Pacheco 3  As a tattooed person I have suffered from stereotypes and prejudices for over ten years. From professors to HR employees, I have had to deal with the stereotype that a tattooed person in his or her twenties is not a responsible person. Moreover, as a parent, I have had to deal with the same issue on social institutions. According to Tatum, “Prejudice is a preconceived judgment or opinion, usually based on limited information” (381).  Socially speaking, Costa Ricans seem to be kin to provide  judgment values on whatever topic is on hand at the moment. Thus, all the people who judged Elkin and me while we played with my daughter that day were assuming that we were a disgrace for the “institution of family,” or for god, etc. Based on their own stereotypes, the people who was disrespectful to us were reproducing a pattern that is present in society, which is prejudice. According to Freud, “ Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others” (p.132).  In other words, some people tend to hate whatever reminds them of a part of themselves. In terms of the project, I think that there are people that are reluctant to accept homosexual couples due to the fact that it threatens their own identity and sexuality. Additionally, there are people that are afraid by different reasons; however, being afraid does not give them the authority to judge others. While thinking on how homosexual people have to deal with situations that heterosexual people do not have to deal with, I thought about Audre Lorde’s text regarding oppression and how it relates to the project. Lorde states, “I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the frons upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to  Pacheco 4 destroy me … they appear to destroy you” (34).  To me, the idea of this project was not only to create awareness and conscience on a specific matter to students, but also for the students to be able to help others opening their eyes on different struggles that they might not be able to see due to their own privileges. Thus, I believe that to have been able to enjoy a day with my daughter and perceive the struggles through, at least at some point, a homosexual perspective I have developed an awareness on an aspect that, even though I have supported homosexual causes in the past, have never thought about it thoroughly: the effect that my sexual identity can have upon my daughter in terms of society. It is not only to defend a sexual identity, but also to defend my daughter’s childhood and life against a sexist, patriarchal, homophobic society. I thought about how difficult most be for a low-income homosexual couple to be able to raise a child in a non-inclusive world, and how they are treated by both people and institutions. This project also made me think on how society is so narrow-structured that focuses more on create damage to others than in propose common solutions. Finally, the project made me think about this social need to put a category into everything. According to Meyers and Pacheco, the term gay means “an adjective referring to  the individuals, lifestyles, and cultural practices associated with male homosexuality” (85).  Why do we have to call ourselves and identify ourselves in terms of categories? Are we not all human beings? The problem, I think, is that even though we are all human beings or animals, not all of us are humans or have this “humanity” that makes us want to help others without an interest in the way. Therefore, through this project I have reinforced my interest in trying to be a more human person to my daughter, to my partner, to my friends and the rest of society. Even though I understand that the treatment will not

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