A Youth Perspective on Marriage Equality

Apr. 4, 2013 / By

Alejandra Alarcon (right) with friends at the DreamBrave Summit earlier this year in Los Angeles. The event, put on by the Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, encouraged acceptance and individuality among youth

Alejandra Alarcon (right) with friends at the DreamBrave Summit earlier this year in Los Angeles. The event, put on by the Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, encouraged acceptance and individuality among youth

ALEJANDRA ALARCON/Coachella Unincorporated

I’ve been asked why I care about the issue of marriage equality. After all, I’m not gay, and discrimination against gay people doesn’t really interfere with my daily life. And unlike some of my closest friends who are gay, I never had any reason to think that I wouldn’t be able to someday marry the person I truly love.

My answer is that I don’t have to be gay or even a victim of discrimination to understand what it feels like for someone else to be judged unfairly for something they have no control over, especially when that judgement is directed at the people I love the most.

My mother, an immigrant from Mexico, has been a U.S. citizen for 12 years. She’s worked for the local school district for seven of those years, yet doesn’t receive the same benefits as other district employees in higher positions.  Instead, she has remained in the same low-paying position, and I can’t help but think that it has something to do with the way she speaks English, which influences the way others perceive her.

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.