Michael Torres is a member of Dignity/San Antonio.
Has your ethnicity enhanced or hindered your experience in the GLBT Catholic community?
I believe it enhanced my experience because my ethnicity has a lot to do with where I came from, and it carries with it a special set of gifts, just like being gay and Catholic carries with it gifts. When I mention this to other people, they are in shock because they didn’t know that one can be gay and Catholic, but I assure them it is very possible.
Wording in the Bible can be challenging to understand, but God showed me that he loves me and all of his creations. Being Latino is one thing; so is being gay and Catholic but it gives you a sense of empowerment to know that you can accomplish many things in this world with the help of education. The community (“comunidad”) keeps you together.
It also gives me a sense of pride of God molding you into his own masterpiece that would soon outshine the world. It lets you know that you are not living life on your own. Also Latinos/as tell stories about how they grew up with so little and made the most of what they had. This could also relate to our growing knowledge.
I view everything from everybody’s point of view rather than my own. For example: I shouldn’t have to tell everyone I’m gay or Catholic or Latino fearing that I will be judged because of it. They should see me as myself, and as human, looking beyond the imperfection.
In what ways do you think the experience of being GLBT Latino/a Catholic is different from other GLBT Catholics?
It means that I have to push harder because I feel I am being held to higher standards: those of the gay community and those of the gay Latino community.
Do you feel like a minority within a minority; if so how do you reconcile that?
We all have minorities under our skin and we have to get familiar on how those minorities shape our life and our perspectives. I do feel that my minority (Latino) is intersected into another minority (gay) which actually gives me a good feeling because diverse minds are the most productive minds.
Has your ethnicity informed your spirituality and/or vise versa?
Faith and love are the things that bring us closer to God. Throughout all the struggles in my life, I just had to have faith and keep on trusting in God, because God can transform my life. It’s a challenge for everyone to grow up thinking that they might be viewed in a negative way or having these harmful stereotypes clutter our mind when instead we should be asking ourselves what can I do today to show that my heart, mind, and soul are shining from within.