By Luis Ramirez
“Undocumented and unafraid! "Queer! Queer! And unashamed”
If you've never heard these chants, it's time that we have a talk. June is Pride Month, honoring the LGBTQ community. It's a month-long celebration of the societal barriers broken down through the blood, tears, lives, and resilience of the LGBTQ community. As you join the celebration during this season, please don't leave the UndocuQueer and UndocuTrans out of the festivities.
As a self-identified UndocuQueer, it's important for me to speak out about how my community celebrates pride month with a bittersweet taste, knowing that our often overlooked struggles go beyond marriage equality. I know that you might be questioning how is it that there is exclusion from the narrative, so let me ask a few questions.
How many organizations—not led or created by undocumented folks—are currently fighting for the rights of the undocumented LGBTQ community? How many are bringing into their platforms current undocumented leaders for the recognition of their achievements or host honest conversations to better understand ways they can create a broader movement for liberation and equality?
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If we spend some time to talk about the issues that the LGBTQ community still faces today, I'd need a lot more than a column to do them justice. But to get a small glimpse of what I'm talking about, imagine not having access to jobs because of your identity. Being undocumented makes it even more difficult to survive by clamping down on economic opportunities.
Suicide rates are already alarming for LGBTQ-identified folks. But dealing with fears of detention or the trauma afterward only amplifies these concerns. Without access to health insurance, hormones, mental health care or even basic doctor visits are another obstacle the undocumented LGBTQ community face.
So before you shout, “Love is love” and celebrate marriage equality as something accessible at the national level please include the entire LGB“TRANS”q (and gender non-comforting) community in your conversations. The battle isn't over and there's a lot that we still must to do in order to gain total inclusiveness. Talking about the needs of undocumented LGBTQ people is the first step in getting everyone on board in this battle as we create visibility through education and inclusion. I am undocumented and unafraid, but more importantly, I am orgullosamente queer and unashamed!
Happy Pride Season!