Last November, I did a workshop at the DREAM Nation in Dallas. That event, the National Congress of United We DREAM, was attended by 450 DREAMers and their allies from around the country. While I was there, I also attended a session sponsored by The Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP.) The group’s leader was an impressive young man named Jorge Gutierrez. QUIP was started by the Orange County Dream Team.
During the QUIP session, I was both awed by the courage of the DREAMers and struck by the pressures facing undocumented youth who are also LGBT. Most LGBT people worry on some level about coming out to their families. But, for undocumented youth, it seems like there’s an added burden. For so many, the decision their parents made to come to the US was to give them a better life. So they were willing to take the risks. It gives the family an added bond — often their own secret. There’s a shared situation of being undocumented. Then, when the young man or young woman wants to come out, they put their family ties at risk. And, they threaten that shared bond. So, it’s like a double whammy. I conveyed my impression to Jorge who wrote back, “you have captured in your own words the navigation spaces Queer Undocumented youth face within their families and public places.”
Last week, Cuentame sent a video titled “An Honest Conversation,” which features Jorge and his mom. It’s really worth a watch. And, you’ll love his mother.