Ramon Ramirez is the Executive Director of PCUN and has been an unwavering ally of the LGBTQ community for decades. We are thrilled to have him as one of our premier speakers at the Statewide Leadership Summit, and to be working with him to educate Oregonians on the anti-immigrant ballot measures we’re facing this summer and how those measures endanger all Oregonians. Here is an op-ed he wrote last October for National Coming Out Day:

In 1991, when Oregon Citizens Alliance targeted the LGBTQ community through the hateful ballot measure, Measure 9, farm workers and immigrants did not stand on the sidelines.

When LGBTQ activists and allies made the Walk for Love from Portland to Eugene, PCUN members welcomed marchers to Woodburn to visibly and boldly confront homophobia.  We escorted them two miles into our union hall.  We opened up a dialogue because we knew we needed to stand up for the LGBTQ community and build a long lasting relationship for justice for all. 

In the years since, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community has made huge gains, but equality remains elusive for many LGBTQ folks of color. Sunday marks the 27th National Coming Out Day, which was created to raise the visibility of LGBTQ people.  Once again this year I am proud to come out as a vocal ally for LGBTQ communities, particularly people of color who continue to face unique struggles to coming out and being out.

This remains true within the Latino community, where LGBTQ people face unique cultural barriers because of the strong presence of the church.  As a result, they are less visible and less authentic.

We can change that by standing up for justice for all people in our communities.

I am among many other straight leaders of color who are making videos, writing opinion editorials, and sharing our stories to raise the visibility of leaders of color who are fighting for LGBTQ equality this National Coming Out Day. We are joined by more than 140 leaders and organizations that work in communities of color across Oregon that have publicly come out in support of LGBTQ people of color.

Together, we can bring more visibility to LGBTQ people of color and help all families get the resources, respect and love they need to thrive.

Thanks to the work of Our Families at Basic Rights Oregon, LGBTQ people of color can live in communities freer from discrimination and distress. It benefits not only them, but the rest of us as well, because when you do something positive for one member of our community, it affects all members of our community.