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Transcript: How to Be a Good Ally to LGBTQ + Colleagues with Isaac Rocha

Transcript: How to Be a Good Ally to LGBTQ + Colleagues with Isaac Rocha

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:02] Welcome to a Seat at the Table, a podcast dedicated to highlighting the importance of cultural intelligence in the workplace and brought to you by MFHA, the multicultural foodservice and hospitality alliance. We believe inclusive business is a profitable business. So join us as we dive into practical advice on how you can communicate effectively. People from different cultural backgrounds. I’m your host. Gerry Fernandez, founder and president of MFHA. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:00:32] Well, welcome to the show, Isaac. And thank you for agreeing to do this interview. You know, as I was preparing for this segment, I spoke with several executives, some DEI experts and an educator from NYU. And I asked them what they wanted to see come out of this period of racial tension, protesting and various and sundry civil unrest. Two consistent themes I heard. And one was that the time for just talk is past. Individuals and organizations need to take specific, relevant and measurable action, especially if they want to see or be seen as credible. Anything less is viewed as maybe disingenuous. I’m curious what you might say in this as we get into the interview. The other thing that came through was that the goal should be for people to understand each other’s racial, ethnic or cultural reality. In other words, understanding the other person’s lived experience is really what they’re after. Now, Isaac, I’ve known you for a while and I know you. I do. I have a number of different perspectives on what your life experiences have been. What did you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up, what it was like in your early years, etc.? 

Isaac Rocha [00:01:45] Well, thanks so much for having me on the show today and being able to have this conversation with MFHA. I applaud you guys for having all types of conversations about race, the black experience, and now the LGBTQ experience. So thank you for the opportunity, Gerri. I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma. So one of the things that I learned very early in life is that people like me, there weren’t a lot of us around. Specifically, that is a cross sectionality of being Latino, having big curly hair. That’s wavy also. That was one of the things that actually was picked on in elementary and middle school. And so I did a lot of things to hide or pass to kind of make sure that those identities weren’t a focal point with my friends in school and in the community. So I remember straightening my hair, figuring it out in middle school. I didn’t really understand what that was. I even used hair tonic and got burns on my scalp. All the way to making sure that I didn’t come out for the fear of how it would be received in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And so those are some of the types of things that I experienced growing up. I will say that, you know, I came from a middle class family, had an opportunity to get an education, and play sports. So I was a pretty normal kid, but I was constantly reminded that I wasn’t part of the mass. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:03:07] So you said a couple of things. You said this intersectionality, which I want to understand. And then you had to hide to pass, what were you hiding? 

Isaac Rocha [00:03:17] Yeah. So hiding or covering as a term of trying to move identities that are diverse to the background and trying to move those strong identities to the front. So I didn’t really want a lot of attention to the fact that I was Hispanic, Latino. I wanted to make sure that I was doing things to kind of, again, just hide in the back. Not coming out and being my authentic self as a gay man was to not to pass that in the background. And so that is passing or covering, which is terminology by Dr. Yoshino. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:03:54] So you said so you identify as a gay man. Is that how you identify? 

Isaac Rocha [00:03:59] Yes, sir. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:04:00] So sometimes people don’t know. How do I kind of refer to a person who appears to be there. So that’s the intersectionality that would just give me a simple explanation of what that is. 

Isaac Rocha [00:04:11] Yeah. We’re two cultures crossed. So I have intersectionality as a person of color. Being Latino, Hispanic. And then another identity with being gay. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:04:18] Do you speak Spanish? 

Isaac Rocha [00:04:20] Si yo espanol. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:04:21] Oh, my goodness. You know, perceptions. So. So how does your coming out experience- I would assume at some point you have to come out- whatever that means- to certain individuals, hey, I’m gay. I’m not straight or I’m this or I’m that. How did your coming out experience compare to other people’s coming out experience? And what could the audience learn from what you experienced? 

Isaac Rocha [00:04:42] Yeah, so interesting. Again, going back to that intersectionality of having a Latino Hispanic father, it means that he was very much fizbo. So he’s very proud of his boys and religious from the upbringing. So my experience was not received very well and decided to come out my senior year. My father kind of beat me up a little bit and I got kicked out of the house. I was homeless for a few weeks and lived with a family for two years, senior year in high school, just trying to figure out how to get on my feet. Unfortunately, that experience is very common with LGBTQ youth. So 30 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. And there’s even stronger disparities, specifically with black youth and persons of color within the LGBTQ youth. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:05:31] Do you think misunderstanding or hostility towards the LGBTQ sexual orientation is stronger in Hispanic Latino communities than than others? 

Isaac Rocha [00:05:42] Yeah, I feel like it is. I think that’s a cultural it’s a it’s a part of the culture in that machismo culture. And so the fact of a straight Latino father having a gay son is not something that is always received. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:05:58] Well, how your siblings receive you. 

Isaac Rocha [00:06:01] So I haven’t spoken to my family for quite some time. And just started a few years ago having baby conversations. And so we’ve connected, but not in a traditional way that you would see during Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:06:15] Just because your sexual orientation? 

Isaac Rocha [00:06:17] That’s correct. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:06:18] And is that common for other people in the LGBTQ community? 

Isaac Rocha [00:06:23] I would say it’s pretty common. Again, being the youth that are one of the highest homeless youth shows that from a statistical standpoint. But I would say that it’s probably getting better because LGBTQ people have been a little bit socialized. So we’re seeing our representation on television and movies and those things have changed the viewpoints of who we are as a community. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:06:49] So you work for The Bama companies that’s pretty LGBTQ+ friendly. They’re pretty good on diversity. So how did that relationship get started? I know there’s an interesting story about you and the owners. So I was hoping you’d be willing to share some of that. 

Isaac Rocha [00:07:08] Yeah. So, you know, Bama authentically is a very inclusive workplace. We are manufacturing. And then we also are headquartered in Tulsa. But our CEO is all about making sure that everyone has parity and equal opportunity to access education and opportunities within our organization to grow. And so we’ve only had sexual orientation and gender identity expression as a protection within our own organization. Only since 2016. And the reason wasn’t because we were trying to discriminate against LGBTQ people. It’s just that no one had a conversation of what is it that our community looks for in an organization? And the first thing we always run to is policy. We want to see that policy represented in an organization because we worry about our safety. And we worry about our employment. And so, you know, marriage equality gave the impression that in 2015 that we were recognized. I’m on a federal level and we simply aren’t. So there are still states. And just recently, I mean, 2020 is when we got equal employment opportunities federally. But until that, the state of Oklahoma does not have it within their state guidelines as a protected class, we’re not protected as a state within housing. We’re not protected or acknowledged with hate crimes. So the things that we really worry about sometimes are our safety. And we look for organizations that have that policy. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:08:40] So if an organization is welcoming to somebody who’s a member of the LGBTQ community, they’re going to have policies that say, hey, it’s OK for you to be you and we’re gonna go to bat for you if things happen. What else about the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community? Should listeners be aware of. 

Isaac Rocha [00:09:01] Yes. I’ll come back to not just safety of our well-being, but psychological safety. So within an organization, how safe do I feel to actually talk or to share that identity? And so when you think about going back to covering art or passing an identity, it can be anything from being asked, how was your weekend? I might not feel comfortable telling you that I had a weekend with my partner or I hung out with my gay friends. It could be down to not wanting to even have a picture frame of my family because I don’t want that to reveal that identity. And then for me, you know, I run the West division of our U.S. business for business development. So there are communities that I know that I’m not physically safe in. I might be very comfortable in L.A. because they have gay sidewalks. Right. And you can see in the community that we’re celebrated and are wanted. But when you go to a state like Texas or Oklahoma, where we’re not covered from that, we might not feel like, you know, taking a meeting or driving in west Texas or in Kansas. So those are actual things that we think about. And the other thing I would add to for me specifically, I have this little litmus test of what I’m what if I’m wearing today is too gay to distract from the message I’m trying to give in a presentation, right. So am I going to wear my pride scarf to East Texas at a meeting where I haven’t met anyone? Possibly not. Am I going to tailor my outfit to make sure it’s not so loud? And so those are other things from a covering and passing standpoint. . . I specifically do and really do think about in the workplace. I just started wearing my curly wavy mop on my head naturally, probably in the last four years, because I was just, again, I was trying to make sure that none of my identities were distracting from the message and being able to represent my company well. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:10:57] That sounds like a lot to carry. Got it. You got to do your job. You got to carry all these other, you know, aspects of it. I mean, how does – I mean as a man of color, I have some similar experiences, but it seems like that’s a whole lot to be managing in the workplace. How do you do it? 

Isaac Rocha [00:11:16] You know, I have great allies. And again, we have a CEO who embraces it. So I’ve had those conversations with my boss that I don’t feel comfortable with, especially on my first visit in some of these towns. And he’s always offered to say, hey, I’m there with you if you need me, you just call me and I’ll schedule that meeting with you. And so that that allyship not just from a workplace, but also from from a community seeing ourselves celebrated with things like pride. So Bama has been part of Tulsa Pride for the last three years. And so seeing our representation and having those discussions is what helps build those allieships, which are extremely important for us. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:11:57] How your brand shows up in the community really makes a difference. And what other things could allies- if I’m a good ally of my gay and lesbian friends, what does that look like? Is it being a pro good ally? What does that look like? 

Isaac Rocha [00:12:10] Yeah. So one of the things that I always talk about allyship is . . . as an ally, you don’t get to give yourself that title. You’re given that title. So that’s very important. But it looks like trying to get to know a community authentically. It’s not just about having a gay friend that I can checkbox the checkbox. It’s more about do I break bread with someone from that community to really, really know and have these types of conversations with them? And allyship is not just about making sure that I’m not creating a barrier for opportunity. I’m going to advocate on behalf and champion and sponsor this person so they can be successful. And so it’s you know, I, I try to be an ally to the trans community, even within our community. And so one of the things I did was I watched the new Netflix series on trans history and how they represented. And again, not having that lens, I was fascinated by the history of- we’re usually a part of this big community, but we still have to get to know each other in those ways, too. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:13:12] Yeah. So I was going to get to transgender next. But seeing how you opened it up, what are the biggest challenges for people in the trans community? You say you’re an ally for them. So you know a little bit about some of the challenges they have. What should people who were neophytes to this – don’t know a whole lot about? What should they know about the trans community? 

Isaac Rocha [00:13:31] Yeah, so the LGB is the sexual orientation. And so the marginalization of those three letters and that acronyms that we’ve always been defined by who we have sex with, which is, if you think about that, how yucky does that feel? And we’ve never really been identified by the person that we want to build a life with, which is why marriage equality was such a huge win for us in 2015. For trans folks, my understanding is that they are usually defined by their body parts. So just sit in that for like three seconds. And again, how yucky does that feel? And so for Trans folks, historically, employment has been something that is hard to acquire. Again, going back to those policies of a protected class and for trans people of color targeted for even murder. So we’ve seen lots of trans sisters murder throughout the year and not really represented as a person, but by a sexual action. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:14:43] So how – during the pandemic, COVID19 – how has the LGBTQ+ community been impacted by COVID19? 

Isaac Rocha [00:14:53] Yeah. So there’s a great little case study that came out from HRC, which is the Human Rights Campaign. Again, if you’re looking for a resource, HRC is fantastic. It’s a national organization that advocates on behalf of our community everything from policy all the way to case studies and advocacy within companies and organizations. So specifically for COVID, gay and trans people are 30 percent more likely to have lost their jobs since May. 20 percent more likely to have had hours reduced than their straight colleagues and a figure that rises to 44 percent among gay and trans people of color. So we see the same disparity within our even our own community. Right. And so also another big one is just access to health care. So looking at, you know, the things that are needed. If you were to get COVID and then the access for our community, because of a lot of helpful benefits, do they have access to those full benefits? And so you’ll see those similar disparities within our community that you’re seeing with Hispanic, Latinos and blacks within the US. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:15:59] Right. And I read that somewhere so that that makes good sense. So let’s move on to misconceptions. The most common misconceptions people have about gays and lesbians and people from the LGBTQ. And then you gotta do something with the LGBTIA+, because there’s a lot of alphabet letters to that, and people can sometimes use that as an excuse for not getting up close and personal and understanding what the challenges are. So what are the most common misconceptions people have? 

Isaac Rocha [00:16:32] I’m great at shopping with my girlfriends or or, you know, things that I see a lot is anything that’s artistic we’re going to automatically be good at. I can only draw stick figures. I can’t really paint or draw very well. That we don’t like sports. I play tennis. I love watching college football. A lot of femininity and masculinity. So I see a lot of people that may be more masculine. People really say you don’t you don’t really act gay. It’s kind of like, OK, what’s that? One that’s always that gets me that I just try to smile through. We’re talking about microaggressions here, little subtle insults that don’t show that might necessarily have that intent, but they still have an impact. So “we don’t really care who you’re dating or who you have sex with, we’re here to support you.” Again, being defined by sexual action and not as a person, but we as a collective are just as diverse as any other collectives. We come back from all types of industries. We have all types of interests. The biggest thing is we just want opportunity and access to safety. And the same thing that comes with marriage benefits that we were able to get in 2015 to build a life together with someone else. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:17:51] Let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back. 

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Gerry Fernandez [00:19:12] So I don’t necessarily need to know a person’s sexual orientation, but sometimes I don’t know how to… This happened to me one time was somebody who I assume was trans, but I could not tell from their name. I don’t know. How does a person respond in a situation where I want to be? I want to do the right thing, but I don’t know how to ask a person how you identify. What coaching could you give to those of us who struggle with that? 

Isaac Rocha [00:19:39] Yes, so you can kind of see I don’t know if your audience can see, but under my name I have pronouns listed. He/Him/His.

Gerry Fernandez [00:19:48] They can’t see but I can see. Yes. Yes. Right. 

Isaac Rocha [00:19:50] I try to do that on any inclusion diversity conversations. Especially on Zoom now. That allows an audience or a trans person to know that I understand the pronouns. And it’s a way to let them know that they can identify with their pronouns. If you don’t know someone’s gender identity, maybe you can say, “hey, I’m Gerry. My pronouns are He/Him/His. What’s your name and what are your pronouns? And not as an ally to a trans person allows for them to know that you’re in that psychological safety and that you’re not specifically being rude or asking. But you do have some knowledge in that area. Another thing that I would also say that can be a mistake is making – and this happens with all identities – making just the gay person that you happen to know, the ambassador to educate you. Which can be very exhausting, especially right now with people of color and our black brothers and sisters in our community. So building some rapport first before going into the deep questions. And Gerry, we’ve had tons of conversations because we have that rapport. Right. And I’m not being your teacher. I’m a friend. I can actually have a conversation about my experience. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:21:07] Yeah. So this is do you talk about marriage equality? And also would you in the Bible Belt down there? You know, this is a whole swath of the south where, you know, biblical teaching is. So how does somebody who’s trying to be a Christian. How do they juxtapose those two things that I want to support my gay friends? But I am really trying to, you know, practice my faith. Those two things are these incongruent. 

Isaac Rocha [00:21:35] Yeah, I would say that conservative, religious people can be just as inclusive as a non-religious, non-conservative person. And I can attest to it because I have tons of friends from all backgrounds but conservative backgrounds and I have tons of religious friends. And it reminds me of just you know, just not so many years ago just excuses that were used around religion to talk about and to oppose interracial marriage. And so I know for a fact, because there are churches that are very inclusive, I’ve been to them that embrace our community and that you can have religious conservative friends that are just as inclusive. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:22:15] Now, you can still practice your faith and support your LGBTQ friends and family and work in the community. They’re not mutually exclusive. What are some of the most egregious forms of discrimination that we need to watch out for things that companies could do a better job with if they just paid attention to it? 

Isaac Rocha [00:22:36] Yeah, I think that psychological safety, not just having the policy, but how do you create an environment within your organization that really tells our community that we’re safe here. And so I had a friend who literally invited his boss to his wedding on a Friday and was fired on a Monday. He’s a very successful lawyer. He hit all of his marks and he was literally fired because of an invitation. And so as of June, we’ll see what happens next year. But as of June, we’re not protected in our employment. But I think the biggest thing is how do you create that space so that we feel safer to actually talk about our weekend. So the question is, is, you know, not only are we protected, but have I created an environment that Isaac is willing to talk to me about his weekend. Because the interpretation might be “Isaac’s just really not conversational. He’s not very warm. And I don’t think he likes me,” which I hope, you know, that I’m pretty likable. But if I don’t have that report with you, especially as a colleague. I’m not talking about my weekend and like to pivot to a completely different conversation because I don’t have psychological safety. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:23:49] Yeah. So maybe you could share another couple of examples. I have a quick one that a friend of mine shared with me, that they were on vacation at Disney. The two gay men who was on vacation at Disney. And they saw somebody from the company and he took his head and pushed it underneath the car as they were driving. And I was like I was horrified when he told me this, but he said, look, we weren’t ready to come out. That would have just created such an awkward situation for the rest of their week at Disney. They were looking over their shoulders. Are there any other examples of things like that that can kind of help us who want to be supportive to kind of say, listen, I got to make sure that stuff’s not going to happen in a place that I work or in a place that that I’m involved with? 

Isaac Rocha [00:24:33] Yeah. Think again about those cultural communications and experiences internally, you know. Do you have what we’re having right now, this conversation? Does that exist in your organization during Pride Month as an ally? It’s so important to see allies at Pride. And then we can maybe have that conversation or we can feel like we can come out to you at work. One thing that’s very important is don’t ever out someone. It’s not your not your position to come out of the closet in your closet. So being mindful of that, you know, just because you have a rapport with someone and you can talk to them about their weekend doesn’t mean that you need to open that up in a public setting until that’s been established. But I remember last year pre COVID when I was invited to go to McDonald’s Chicago Pride. And so I think there were two suppliers that were invited. And it was so amazing not to just to see the LGBTQIA team members at Pride. We kind of expected that. It was amazing to see how many vice presidents and regional vice presidents and the Chiefs inclusion officer was there on the float celebrating and advocating, being an ally. And I might have taught someone how to flip a fan, but we’ll have to talk about that off line. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:25:55] Isaac, I want you to say a little bit more about the fact that being LGBTQ is kind of more socialized and therefore it’s more accepted than it was in the past. Tell me more about what that looks like and what that really means. 

Isaac Rocha [00:26:09] Yes, I kind of call it the Will and Grace effect. So when Will and Grace first got on TV, it wasn’t just cable. It was public TV. Right. And it wasn’t just a small scene. It was about a unit of family on how they described their family, an actual representation and getting to know gay people. And so when Will and Grace hit, it started changing social norms throughout the years to come. We actually kind of attribute Will and Grace to the fact of marriage equality because it was one marriage is one of the aspects of that we can all relate to in that humanization process. Right. It’s like, oh, it’s about marriage and benefits and having kids and that partnership. And so you continue to see the humanization specifically, now with trans people. So I don’t know if anyone hasn’t heard about Rupaul’s Drag Race or Schitt’s Creek, but for them to get the recognition and award, humanizing not just drag queens, but the other shows like Poes, humanizing trans people and their experiences and making them more than just who I want to sleep with or what body parts do I have? 

Gerry Fernandez [00:27:26] Humanization. That’s really good. TV has done a great job with helping humanization. I want to say a little bit more about your preparation to go to work. You know, I’m in Texas, I’m here. I’ve gotta dress a certain way, kind of makes me think about the talk that my wife and I had to have with our boys, you know, being black. You have to have the talk with your boys when they go out on a Friday night or whenever that they get stopped by the police, that something could happen to them. That’s a certain way they should behave. I just took my grandson to court yesterday to pay a ticket. And we went to dispute the ticket. You could pay less if you went in person and he had a do rag on his head. I said, you gotta take that off. You want to send the best message for the judge. So say more about how you have to prepare for work. 

Isaac Rocha [00:28:18] Yeah. I mean, not that I know the black experience, but I can definitely rate as a Latino, Hispanic, you know, straighten my hair like I talked before. That was something to cover or over dressing, making sure I look really, really sharp because I want my message to be received well. And that definitely translates as for me, for a gay man. So if I’m traveling to a certain specific part of the community and I know that they don’t have hate crimes and then we’re not recognized by their state or the municipality, something to look it up first, am I walking into a safe place. And then also, what am I wearing? Anything, my gay litmus test. Am I wearing anything too gay? Think about that for a second. That might distract from my message. So are my shoes or the color of my socks or can I wear my pride scarf or do I have to get jewelry on? This identity is going to distract from representing an organization or taking away the message of what I’m trying to bring, which is all business. When you think about it, we’re all trying to grow businesses. Right. But I have been in multiple, and I have experienced that type of discrimination where I’m completely dismissed, because I walk into the room and one of my identities is coming to to strong to the front. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:29:39] It’s like your slip is showing. Women have always had to deal with this, you know, dressing too pretty, showing too much real estate, whatever the case may be that you definitely understand it, but you really add some real depth and color and context, too, to that. It’s one more thing that you said earlier I want to come back to. It was the use of pronouns, though, this use of pronouns, He/Him/His… Obviously, I’m not as well schooled as I should be. Is a relatively new process. This hasn’t been around for use of pronouns for 10 or 15 years, but in the last few years, it’s become a big deal. Why is that necessary? You know, the people announce themselves who they are. 

Isaac Rocha [00:30:23] Yeah. So and again, I don’t speak for the trans community. Just my understanding of why the pronouns are important. So I always try and introduce myself. And it’s psychological safety is established to try to establish pronouns. If I knew that trans people were there or if I’m not really sure that allows trans people to know that I got certain action when I speak your language. So my name is Isaac. My pronouns are He/Him/His. What are your pronouns? And so it also allows a person that might not be binary to identify with They/Them/Theirs and it validates that I’m humanizing you. I see you. And that acknowledging what pronouns you want to call by. And so I’ll even when I’m in a conference. I’ll even put those pronouns at the bottom of my name. So Isaac. Bama. Him/His. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:31:14] I really like that humanization piece of this because you talk about binary non binary, which, you know, for other people outside the community or people who are not allies. That whole concept of not being in a male or female is like something that’s a bridge too far for them to go through. But I love the fact that it all comes back to humanizing people. And it’s kind of you to communicate by your language that I understand, you know, who you are and how you experience life. I know when we first got involved with LGBTQ stuff. Years ago, we called it the lifestyle group. Just think about that. When I was out of eight, 10, 15, fifteen years ago, the lifestyle group, when people would talk about the gay lifestyle and then we quickly moved into orientation because it’s not a lifestyle. So I think that’s how I view this use of pronouns. One more question now, because our time is coming short. What are the resources? You mentioned HRC, which is HRC.org, which I’m very familiar with. If I want to learn more about how to be supportive of LGBTQ, this stuff locally, if I live in the Bible Belt, can I not find this stuff? Do I have to get it on the Internet? How would somebody go about educating? Themselves. You mentioned television shows that were important. What other places would you refer people to get good sources to better understand how they can be an ally, an ally for the LGBTQ community? 

Isaac Rocha [00:32:41] So, yeah, I’m just like any other community. And we have this amazing thing called the Internet. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:32:49] And I use that line, I use that line a lot. 

Isaac Rocha [00:32:52] You can learn about Hispanics or Latinos online, it’s a thing. You can learn about gay people online. But joking aside, there are even great, great national organizations like HRC. If you go on Netflix, they have a whole search for LGBTQ and can see tons of documentaries. There’s tons of TV shows that currently are having conversations of historically how we have been defined by sex and by parts and not till 2015, were we actually defined by relationship. You know, in Tulsa we have a great pride center where you can have a whole pride library. And if it can happen in Tulsa it can happen in a lot of other communities as well. So there’s definitely resources from a community level. And then, you know, getting it’s kind of what our good friend James from Young, their chief diversity officer, says is when you can break bread with people, you can really get to know them on the human level. And I think that’s what’s missing from all these conversations is, you know, we’re all kind of blasted with national messaging and assumptions and stereotypes and things change when we can just break bread. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:34:04] Well, you know, I had one more question, you might have just answered but I’m going to ask it anyway. What are you hopeful for? What gives you hope. 

Isaac Rocha [00:34:13] These types of conversations, Gerry, honestly. It can be exhausting. From where we are from a COVID standpoint, you know, it was interesting when COVID hit and then the Black Lives Matter hit movement, you know, 50 years ago from last year. So 51 since stonewall was part of the recognition and celebration of that incident in New York. What’s interesting to me, what’s not lost on me is that it wasn’t the Caucasian gays in New York that were being targeted by the police. It was the people of color in the gay community and specifically trans people of color that were being targeted in stonewall. So that whole movement comes from our black and brown gay brothers and sisters and trans brothers and sisters. And so when you start talking to all the COVID and everything that we’re all, you know, all this collective trauma that we’re experiencing together, we as a community have to stop and say, hey, it’s time to talk about our black brothers and sisters right now and to recognize that part of that history that’s very important for our community. So these types of conversations, the more we can have them. It gives me hope for two reasons. We’re humanizing a community. But when you don’t have a seat at the table, we all know what happens. You end up on the menu. So thank you for everything. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:35:30] Hey! So what a great way to end it there is Isaac is always you know, I love spending time and having a conversation with you. Thank you for being my guest on today’s show. And I wish you all the best. I know I’ll get to see you again soon. Thank you. 

Isaac Rocha [00:35:46] Hope to see you soon. Thank you so much for the time. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:35:49] Bye bye. 

Gerry Fernandez [00:35:53] That’s our show for today. Special thanks to our listeners. And thank you for taking a seat at the table with us today. If you found our show to be valuable, please share with your network and leave us a five star review on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. As that helps more people find the show, you can also subscribe for free so that you never miss an episode. A seat at the table is brought to you by the Multicultural FoodService and Hospitality Alliance, and it’s produced by Dante32. 

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