Soyara Alcalá

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of hosting the screening of "Amores de Mi Vida,” organized by the ACLU of Florida, an audiovisual project where members and supporters of the greater Miami Hispanic LGBT community shared stories of the loves of their lives. When I was invited to participate, I did not hesitate for a second, since I can remember I have actively defended the rights of the LGBT community. This event highlighted the extraordinary qualities of each of the participants, was an audiovisual project that celebrated love in all its forms, as narrated by 26 members of the South Florida community.

Listening to the stories of people including Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez, Vice-Mayor of the City of Hallandale Beach Alex Lewy, among many others, we were immediately moved by the unifying power of love and respect.

The speakers expressed their love of the music and food of their heritage or the love of a parent that helped them through tough times or the love of family; all of the stories showed the importance of love in all of our lives and that having our love respected by others is a common human value.

It reminded me of a my belief in what I call “education reform” – I’m not talking about changes to our school system, but changes we can all make in our homes to do away with misinformation, divisive education and culture judging of what we may mistakenly determine is right or wrong.

I have a 17 year old daughter and my husband and I have been educated in love, responsibility and mutual respect. In my household we have never "judged” a relationship between LGBT people. For us what matters is the essence, the value as a human being, the way personal and professional achievements and accomplished .

Unfortunately we lived in a society that judges, criticizes and punishes; prejudices come from the training we get when we are children. If we grow up with a fixed idea of discrimination against the LGBT community, and educate our children by pointing fingers, we will continue to have poor results and we will not achieve the progress we want to see. Respect for the rights of all must be demonstrated in each and every one of our actions with a focus on the causes we believe deserve attention.

We are beginning to see the fruits of this change. On 26 June this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA"), which stated that the federal government would refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, was unconstitutional.

After the decision of the Supreme Court, several federal agencies announced information about historical changes in benefits and federal programs throughout the nation. It was an important decision, and it showed that the kinds of love that were on display in “Amores de Mi Vida” are becoming more respected in our culture.

Therefore finally, if we all spread the word, supporting just causes that unify rather than separate or label people , we are contributing to a society that for many years will embrace diversity without distinction of race, creed, religion or sexual preference.

Soria Alcala is a Miami-based Spanish-language entertainment journalist from Venezuela.