Carlos Navarro was born in the city of Puebla, located two hours east of Mexico City, on the eighth day of the eighth month of 1968. His family was very close to the Jesuits so he studied in one of their schools, from kindergarten all the way to high school. His aunt was a Superior General of the Sisters of the Cross of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
When in college, he joined a study group with the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit which had a church just four blocks from his parents' home. This was the first step for Jesus to reveal to Carlos his profound and life-changing message. It was through the young people he met at this group – and the conversations, insights and prayer time he shared with its members – that he realized that the message of Christ could truly change hearts.
Carlos went on to earn a BA in Communication Studies at the University of the Americas-Puebla. He was an exchange student on two occasions in the United States, one of them staying with the family of a Presbyterian pastor. His work has taken him to also study and train in Washington, DC and Panama. He studied for six months in Bogota, Colombia, attending a Pastoral Communications course hosted by the Latin American Conference of Catholic Bishops and funded by the German Adventiat Foundation.
In January of 1997, he started a relationship with Eduardo Cortes and moved with him to Mexico City – their life together still endures, they were married on November 25, 2010. In Mexico's capital Carlos worked for a Catholic video production company, a national television network and, starting in 2002, as a media and political analyst for the U.S. Government. From 2012 to 2016 he was invited to work as an adviser to the Chief of Staff of the President of Mexico.
Upon leaving the Office of the Presidency, Carlos moved with Eduardo to Puerto Vallarta on the Mexican Pacific coast. He went back to work with the U.S. Government--now as a contractor--and has also been holding talks on Mexico's social, economic, and political life for expats residing in the city, mostly U.S. and Canadian citizens.
Although he never had a vocation for the priesthood, Carlos has done extensive work in the Catholic Church: teaching Old Testament classes in his own youth groups; doing missionary work among the poor; working as director of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit's video production company; and, more recently, engaging in LGBTI+ Catholic pastoral work.
Because he never felt like "he could really be himself" in any of the Catholic groups he belonged to, Carlos started looking for "gay Catholic groups" in Mexico City. All he could find were groups who held resentful and very negative attitudes toward the Catholic Church. In contrast to what he saw in these confrontational efforts to transform the Roman Catholic Church's stand on homosexuality and LGBTI+ issues, Carlos has always been careful to send a message of inclusion that is based on the Gospel's message of love and acceptance: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Convinced that Catholicism was bound to lovingly embrace its many LGBTI+ members, in July of 2007, Carlos founded Efetá, a Catholic LGBTI+ community in Mexico City. The group's goals are to let LGBTI+ Mexicans know that they do not have to leave their faith behind simply because they are "different" and to call on the Roman Catholic hierarchy to welcome the LGBTI+ faithful into their places of worship.
Efetá's message was so strong and inviting that it grew and has now reached out to similar groups across Mexico. This is how the country's national Catholic LGBTI+ organization – the Mexico Network of Rainbow Catholics (REDCAM) – came to be.
Carlos is currently co-chair of the REDCAM, which held its first and founding convention in October of 2018. The organization's main goal is to prompt the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico not only to fully recognize its many LGBTI+ members but to actively voice support for and effectively use its influence and means to protect the human rights of LGBTI+ Mexicans, regardless of their religious convictions. His responsibilities in the group include: reaching out to the Roman Catholic hierarchy; prompting theologians to expand insight and research on a new "LGBTI+ theology"; acquiring funds from foundations other sources; and speaking out to spread the message.
Because of his work in the Catholic LGBTI+ group he founded in Mexico City, Carlos has often witnessed the discrimination and exclusion suffered by LGBTI+ Catholics. Applying the universally-accepted Golden Rule has served him well in getting Roman Catholic Church officials to sit down to talk and to listen to LGBTI+ causes. His experience is that a reasonable message conveyed in a constructive attitude of acceptance and understanding – in fact, the language of Christian love – can do much more than violent protests. He has also learned that leaving the "syndrome of victimization" behind – even though he realizes that LGBTI+ Catholics are indeed victims of an unfair system – and proactively, intelligently and lovingly fighting for LGBTI+ rights is an excellent way to get the attention and, even more importantly, the respect of others.
Carlos has been writing about Catholic issues for a long time. He was an author in the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit national magazine for almost a decade and is now often asked to write about LGBTI+ Catholic issues for some other publications. He has also been invited to talk in forums such as the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), the US Embassy in Mexico City, Fordham University in New York City, the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) and DignityUSA about the LGBTI+ Catholic experience in Mexico and Latin America.
(This biographical statement written by Carlos Navarro.)
Biography Date: September 2019
Catholic (Roman) | Efetá | Mexico | Mexico City | Mexico Network of Rainbow Catholics (REDCAM) | Activist (church change) | Author/editor