October 6, 2001

Date: Sat, 6 Oct 2001 20:01:40 US/Pacific
From: alvarezh@rohan.sdsu.edu
To: almalopez@earthlink.net

Hola carnala,

My name is Hector Alvarez and recently came across your piece titled "Our Lady of Guadalupe". I stumbled upon it as I researched material for a course that I'm taking in the Masters in Social Work program at San Diego State. My research is focused on gay and lesbian families, Chicanas/os in particular, and ways of improving social services to this community. Your work struck me as a prime example of how the members of this oppressed community, gay and lesbian chicanas/os, are reinterpreting the social/historic symbols and images we are raised to admire and worship. I myself was taught to respect the virgen as well and must admit that your work challenges the paradigms through which I was raised to view the virgen. However, I learned long ago that my patriarchial upbringing needs to be corrected. The image of "Our Lady" forces me to take a second look at my own indoctrination where an exposed female body is seen as promiscuous and unholy. In my early years as a Chicano activist, like many other Chicano males, I developed the notion that women who spend time making their bodies attractive were also promiscuous and failed to follow the image and example of the virgen. Your work is important in helping us deconstruct these binarisms where men still try to dictate the proper behavior of women. I would greatly appreciate if you could refer me to any other material at your disposal which can help me in my effort to assist the gay and lesbian Latino community.

Gracias y Adelante,
Hector Alvarez