Jorge Gutierrez tells the story of how he came out as a Queer undocumented immigrant and calls for an inclusive immigration reform.
This week, I came to Washington, D.C., to witness history as I stood in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and was joined by other Queer undocumented immigrant leaders from the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP), a project of United We Dream (UWD), as well as hundreds of other marriage equality supporters.
As I stood in the midst of LGBTQ leaders, activists and allies in the nation’s capital, I thought back to a sunny Saturday afternoon in Santa Ana in Southern California when I first came out to my mother.
The day I came out to my mother
She’d just picked me up from work and we were approaching a red traffic light. My mother suddenly turned off the music in the car. I felt this dramatic silence and she gave me a serious look, asking, “Te gustan los niños o niñas?”(Do you like boys or girls?)
I thought about lying. Her question reminded me of how cruel and violent my father had been with me when I was a child in Mexico, and I was scared the right answer would turn my mother against me. But I couldn’t lie, so I said, “Me gustan los niños.”
The light finally turned green and she pulled into the closest parking lot. She turned to me and told me to get out of the car. The worst thought went through my mind—that she was about to disown me, leaving me on the side of the road in my work uniform. But I knew that by being true to myself, I was going to be okay.
She got out of the car, came to the passenger side where I was standing, and with tears falling down her face, she gave me the strongest hug in the world. She said that while she might not fully understand, we were going to get through it together.
My mother is a fierce and strong woman with only a second-grade education but with plenty of wisdom, knowledge and love.
Immigration reform should be inclusive
I’m proud to be a part of the largest immigrant-youth led movement in the country, fighting for inclusive immigration reform that wouldn’t leave anyone out—not me or my Queer brothers and sisters, not my mom or any other DREAMer’s parents.
Everyone of us who’s contributing to the country we call home, who considers ourselves American, who lives by our shared American values of opportunity, equality and compassion, deserves a chance to become a citizen. That’s what this current fight for immigration is all about.
In Spring 2011 in Memphis, Tennessee, 200 immigrant youth heard firsthand the stories of UndocuQueer leaders and as a movement, we committed to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ immigrant community.
We are developing leaders across the country and telling our UndocuQueer stories to our families, communities, legislators, and mainstream LGBTQ and immigrant rights organizations. We continue to work to broaden the narrative about immigration and to show each of the faces and lives affected by the political and legislative debate.
Any immigration reform proposal must include all of us, regardless of who we love, how we identify, where we grew up, where we work or how we look.
Originally published on VOXXI as Queer Dreamer: Immigration reform should not leave anyone out