Home Social Justice Queer, Latino poet Emanuel Xavier performs, presents political discourse at OU

Queer, Latino poet Emanuel Xavier performs, presents political discourse at OU

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Emanuel Xavier wants to know, if Jesus were gay, would you tattoo him to your body?

This was the opening line of his poem “If Jesus Were Gay,” which he presented to a group of students, faculty and community members Wednesday night in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and LGBT History Month.

Xavier’s focus in both his poetry reading and subsequent interview was to let the audience know that, “In spite of our differences, we all have similarities. I may have had a different experience than you growing up, but it’s a human thing.”

His poetry collection provides social commentary or explores his own personal struggles, including the complexities of between being both Hispanic and gay.

“When I walk down a street unless I, for whatever reason, am feeling flamboyant you might not be able to detect that I’m gay or straight,” Xavier said. “But I think that’s what some people are afraid of, that they can’t tell. You can tell I’m Latino by the color of my skin, but if you’re gay you can look like anybody else or be like anybody else.”

Xavier also dedicated two of his poems to Kim Davis and Donald Trump and read them at the event.

“It’s very ironic that [Kim Davis] would be the one to judge us,” Xavier said, saying Davis’ job and duty was to uphold laws. “I don’t think you can absolve yourself from your past completely. You learn from your mistakes. I own my past, I know the mistakes that I’ve made.”

He delved into the meaning behind some of his most recognized work, including a line about Wal-Mart not being able to save gay rights.

“I say the revolution will not be brought to you by Wal-Mart,” said Xavier. “The revolution is about the real people out there fighting our struggles. We get a lot of support by corporations and that’s wonderful, but ultimately it’s about the people. Those are the ones that deserve to be celebrated. Ultimately, it’s about individuals.”

Xavier was asked about current social justice issues, and he gave his perspective on trending topics like Caitlyn Jenner and the recently-released Stonewall Riots movie, “Stonewall.”

“I was one of those people who judged the movie based on the trailer,” said Xavier, who thought the film should have focused in more on minority communities. “They had the cute, white boy throwing the first brick. I could understand a love story based on that main character, but I felt like him throwing that stone was taking away something very significant to our community.”

OU freshman Jenna Ault said she was interested in how Xavier’s various identifications related to each other.

“I think it was really enlightening with the multicultural aspects, and I was able to see how the different cultures played into his overall story,” Ault said.

To conclude the reading, Xavier gave his take on other issues in the LGBT movement.

“A lot of people are oppressed because of how they choose to express their gender,” said Xavier, who continuously expressed his support for transgender youth. “We have equal rights and we have marriage equality but there’s so much more. We have homeless youth. Kids are being kicked out. Why are we not talking about that?”

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