Oral history interview with David Perez, 1983-

Title

Oral history interview with David Perez, 1983-

Description

Interview describes D.C. Latino Pride, Latino LGBT History Project, D.C. Latino Pride, D.C. Mayor's Office LGBT advisory council.

Date

04042015

Rights

This interview belongs to the Rainbow History Project. The RHP release form was used and all rights belong to RHP.

Coverage

Coverage: 2000 to present. David M. Perez, 1983-present. Born in Torrance, Califonia to a tight-knit evangelical Christian family with roots in New Mexico, Mexico, and Detroit, David attended the evangelical Biola University to study Latin American studies, religion, and Spanish language. Although he began questioning his sexuality midway through college, it wasn’t until he moved to DC in 2005 to attend graduate school at Georgetown that he began making gay friends and entering more gay spaces. Though his friends never pushed him, he came out in 2006 to a largely supportive family and friends. He eventually felt less comfortable attending his home church in San Diego with his family and switched to the open and affirming St Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Dupont Circle, but his family knew that none of his core values, like the importance of volunteerism and family, had changed.
He joined the building and grounds community for the church and began seeking out events that honored both his gay and his Latino identity. He had a hard time finding any details about DC Latino Pride, but eventually he found it at the HRC with a panel moderated by Jose Guttierez, founder of the Latino GLBT History Project, and Laura Esquivel, Political Director for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. Laura told a story from her time in the first national Latino LGBT Organization, Llego, when it marched on Washington in 1987 accompanied by Cesar Chavez. She had also been involved in mobilizing farm workers, and she told Cesar that she was having a hard time choosing which cause to dedicate her energies to. And Cesar said, ‘you can do both.” This was a story that resonated strongly with David, who had often noted that events honoring LGBT or Latino leaders rarely had anyone representing both communities.
He then got more involved in volunteering for Latino Pride and the Latino GLBT History Project, becoming its board chair in 2011 along with Vice President Esther Hidalgo, who founded Mujeres en el Movimiento. They found letters to pride from the 80s and 90s complaining about lack of inclusion, and David still saw problems with that today in the way groups of color were clumped together at the back of the parade and not announced properly. However, they found Pride to be generally responsive to their comments and grew Latino Pride programming. Events included the selection of a Royal Court to serve as media ambassadors, a bilingual interfaith service at MCC DC, an annual fundraising dance party at Town, and the Plactica panel. The group also facilitated increased participation from El Sol Radio station in Pride festivities, from marching in the Pride Parade to DJ’ing the dance party at Town, and holding radio spots to discuss HIV and trans issues.
David has also focused his advocacy efforts at the local government level, and is passionate about language access, increasing support for victims of hate crimes, and serving on Mayor Gray’s GLBT advisory committee. On that committee, they discussed issues like public safety, health, housing and homelessness, trans inclusivity, and the effectiveness of competency training provided to DC government employees. David values working in coalition with other groups of color to ensure that they all have a seat at the table and are visibly honored whenever award nominations are possible, and intends to continue his involvement in the community for years to come.

Interviewer

Cassandra Ake

Interviewee

David Michael Perez

Location

Washington, D.C.

Transcription

No, not yet available.

Original Format

.wav file

Files

Citation

“Oral history interview with David Perez, 1983-,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed July 26, 2017, http://rainbowhistory.omeka.net/items/show/4939478.