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  EN LA VIDA

Activists Meet with Radio Station
2003-11-01

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Representatives from two Latino/a gay groups met with station management and a controversial radio host in October to discuss recent homophobic comments on the station.

Que Buena, WOJO 105.1FM's morning show, a Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation ( HBC ) station, is accused by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Chicago activists of allowing repeated defamatory comments about the LGBT community on its morning show.

On Friday, Aug. 15, 'El Show de El Pistolero y Memín' the station's weekday morning program with El Pistolero, Abel Vences and Rubén Lomelí, called its sister station Viva 103.1FM and became involved in an exchange of several disgusting and hurtful comments against gay men.

In one instance, El Pistolero said: 'En Viva todos son puñales! ( At Viva, everyone is a fag! ) Saquen el jotito de adentro!!' ( Take out the homo inside of you! ) . El Pistolero also said: 'No se preocupen que lo puñal se puede curar. No mas se tiene que cortar algo.' ( Don't worry, his 'queerness' can be cured. We just need to cut 'it' off ) .

Additional comments were made in subsequent shows. Letters were sent to the station by Association of Latin Men in Action and Amigas Latinas. Then in early October, ALMA board member Roberto Tijerina, Radio Arte's Jorje Valdivia, and Aurora Pineda of Amigas, met with El Pistolero, as well as the station's general manager, Jerry Ryan, and Producer César Canales.

The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, Tijerina told Windy City Times. 'My feeling is that it was productive. I didn't go in with an agenda, or to demand an apology. I said, we do not think you are bad guys, but let us explain why we are concerned, and the impact your words have. And they were open to that.'

'Everyone expressed strong opinions,' Tijerina said, 'but people were open to a meeting of the minds. We didn't walk away with a pledge or an apology—but we did have a better understanding of each orther. They had a real appreciation of how it is all in context. Even if comments are done humorously from a shock jock, we showed how it can and does have real consequences.'

So how did the DJ respond? 'I think he did want a dialogue. He said 'I am not a hate monger, there are a lot of very important gay people in my life. I wouldn't want to promote violence.' I said we didn't come here wanting to label you—but your intentions are irrelevant—and the impact is very real.'

Tijerina does not believe they are going to change content, but said he believes the meeting was a good place to start.

'They invited us to come in the future to be on the air on their AM news and issues station [ 560 AM ] . Not on FM—that is entertainment,' Tijerina said. [ And they did in fact go on the air Oct. 16. ]

'We didn't expect them to give us an apology,' Pineda said. 'We did want them to understand the impact of using specific words, to the LGBT community as well as our families. We gave them examples of different ways it does impact—for example, when you call out 'faggot' vs. two gay boys saying it to each other. It's totally different.'

Pineda said at first El Pistolero didn't seem like he wanted to be there, 'but as I talked on my personal experience, I told him how I live in Little Village, he seemed to really pay attention. They did not seem bad, they were willing to listen to us. I didn't expect a lot. This is first time this has ever been done. The Latino LGBT community has not addressed this before. For them to be open to listen to us, was a positive outcome for myself. We can not expect the Latino community to change over night. But the way they paid attention, to want to listen, was good for starters.'

See www.glaad.org .


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