New York State Youth Leadership Council

UndocuQueer

28

Jun 11

0

My name is Felipe and I’m Undocumented and Queer

Growing up undocumented wasn’t easy at all and to this date it’s still not easy, thingskeep getting harder and as the years pass I face more obstacles because of my status.It’s something that I can’t control and sadly have no power over. The feeling of notbeing able to make my own decisions and feeling of being imprisoned and unseen in the country I grew up is sad.

But growing up gay and undocumented made things more difficult. People don’t believe me but I knew I was gay since my first recollections of memory, since I was 5 years old.I grew up feeling different and experiencing different feelings and feelings that societykept telling me were wrong. Growing up I first experienced being gay and that dealt witha lot of shame, not know knowing what to do and who to reach out to because of fearof rejection. I later experienced being undocumented in High School, not being able to enjoy the same rights my friends were experiencing such as driving, having a summerjob, being able to travel and being able to apply for special schools during high school.That’s when being gay and undocumented intertwined, they but both led to me feelinga lot of shame for being gay and undocumented because of social norms. For me beingin the closet wasn’t just about my sexuality it was also about me being undocumented. Growing up as a kid I blamed sexuality for the things I was going through. Growing upI let society shape me, I let it decide how I felt and how I acted and I took it. I was livinga big lie, lying to my family about my sexuality and lying to friends about my status andsexuality and not being to be true to myself.

I felt alone and thinking that I was the only one going through this. I didn’t know anyundocumented or even queer people for that matter until my high school years. Growing up in a macho centric culture and being the only son sure didn’t make things easier. Ifelt more pressure to make those around me happy and leaving my happiness aside. Notbeing able to be myself and struggling with what I was feeling inside led to depressionat age 10. It got to the point that at age 11 and 12 that the only escape from this struggle and unhappiness was suicide. My parents had no idea what I was going through, I was dying inside and in depression but in the outside I was a happy normal kid to them. Myparents were already struggling working nonstop to raise my sister and me amidst the fearof being stopped by police or their work being raided by ICE. I felt like it was never an option to let them know what I was going through, I never wanted them to worry more orand more importantly letting them down because of my sexuality.

Sure coming out gay and undocumented wasn’t easy, it was a long rough process thatled to happiness. I came out gay to my parents when I was in High School and had theirlove and support since then. Coming out gay has helped me gain more control of my life.It has helped me construct my identity, and more importantly I am able to be myself. Iwas at last able to let others know I how felt and I didn’t have to live a lie anymore. Ithas let me feel free and more comfortable with who I am. Coming out as undocumentedlead to more growth and becoming more comfortable with letting others know of my status. It also lead to having less fear. But in comparison to coming out gay, coming outas undocumented only meant coming out. Coming out undocumented didn’t lead to me feeling free, I still feel imprisoned and vulnerable in the country I call my own. Whatangers me more is that it’s an aspect of my life that I have no control over. I am glad and happy to be out as undocumented and gay, it has led to It also lead to having less fearand at least one aspect of my life feels liberated.

I didn’t choose to be gay and I didn’t choose to be undocumented, but if I had the optionof being straight when I was 7,8,9,10 years old I would of said yes, because no kid atthat age should go through or experience what I went through. But it is now that I am reclaiming my queer undocumented identity. It has taken years for me to come to termswith me being undocumented. I have learned to reconcile with my queer identity, afteryears of feeling shame and fear I have learned to love my queer undocumented body.It has been an arduous process I don’t regret any of it. It has been a process of growth and a process that has made me stronger and fearless. I love who I am. The amazingpeople I have encountered and surrounded myself with throughout this process but moreimportantly by the love and support from my parents have made this transition easier. Itis now that I can say I am no longer pleasing anybody, I am no longer waiting for your acceptance, I am no longer waiting for you to feel okay with my sexuality. When was Igiven the chance to feel okay with your heterosexuality?

We’re queer undocumented youth, we can’t no longer afford to be in the closet either asgay or undocumented. We can’t no longer hide, we can’t no longer let those who haven’tbeen in our shoes decide and tell us how to act, how to feel and that this isn’t our home.We have the right to be who ever we want to be; we have right to remain here. It is sadbut the only pathway to citizenship in this country is living a heterosexual lifestyle andthat’s something that is that I am not willing to follow or pursue! I am not demanding heterosexual rights nor do I want them, all I am demanding are human rights. Because I have the right to feel human, because I have to right to feel free in the country that I grewup in, the country I call my own.

Equality for some is not equality for everybody and that’s why I can no longer hide! I canno longer wait! Lets transform this roles of shame we have been trapped in and transform them into roles of pride! We need to act now and It’s now that I can say,

I am Felipe and I’m Undocumented and Queer I am Out and Proud.