Virtual Equali-Tea panel discussion tackles equality and inclusivity

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Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio says that he has personally seen progress within the LGBTQ community and the rest of the island community. (PNC photo)

The District Court of Guam and the Guam Bar Association closed out Pride Month by hosting a panel on diversity in the workplace and the community.

The virtual Equali-Tea panel discussion aims to educate island residents about equality and inclusivity in both the workplace and the community.

Former Chief Justice and Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz, who is also openly part of the LGBTQ+ community, talked about the difficulties he faced throughout the years, especially when homosexuality was considered a crime.

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“So the entire time I was in college, the entire time I was in law school, I had this fear of being arrested for the crime of sodomy, because it was a crime even between consensual adults. And so I had to make sure my character and character references didn’t include a violation or criminal conviction,” Cruz said.

Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, who is openly part of the community as well, says that he has personally seen progress within the LGBTQ community and the rest of the island community.

“When I worked for him (BJ Cruz) at the Legislature in 2004, you know, I realized that people don’t care really as long as you were honest about it with them. You don’t want to lead a life of deception and even more, you don’t want to be cruel to somebody. You know, when you’re in the closet and you’re in a straight relationship …  if the roles were reversed and all of a sudden, your time was wasted because the person you thought loved you was lying to you, it’s really cruel,” Tenorio said.

The Lt. Governor acknowledged that there is still a lot of challenges in regards to the island’s full acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

He says that there are still groups of socially conservative elements within the public that are not fond nor supportive of the community and they still have to withstand and fight for whatever injustices comes their way.

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