When family makes all the difference


Editor’s Note: This is Lulu’s last week in Chicago, as she is packing up and moving to Atlanta, Georgia. She will be working with local community organizations supporting undocumented youth organizing in the state. We thank her for her contributions, and are excited for the opportunities ahead.

My name is Lulu and I’m undocumented.

I realized I liked girls when I was 13. I had become friends with a girl named Ela, who was also the same person I first came out to as undocumented. We shared a connection, because like me, she was also undocumented.

Although I came out to a mutual friend as bi, I remember I suppressed that part of my identity until my second year in high school. I never really told my parents I was queer, although over the last two years, my mom has changed the language she uses when talking to me about relationships and family. She often starts her sentences with “When you have a partner…” and “If you decide to adopt kids…”

I owe the change in my mother’s mentality to my brother Eddie, who came out to my dad earlier this year. I remember the time my mom found a picture of my girlfriend and I kissing on my computer desktop. And I remember not having the courage to tell her I was queer, even though she had known about my brother Eddie for over a year. It was already disappointing enough to have one gay child, but two?

As I struggled being queer at home, I struggled with being undocumented everywhere else. I’ve been able to come out as undocumented many times in the last year and a half because of the support of my undocumented friends. Unfortunately, I have had to compromise my queer identity in fear that the same people who support the immigrant rights movement will change their minds if they find out I am queer.

However, after seeing the courage my brother had when coming out, and hearing the stories of my queer, undocumented friends, I am ready to say that I am queer, undocumented, and I’m out.

This is the 6th in a series of posts about coming out as queer and undocumented. Lulu is an IYJL organizer, a student at Harold Washington Community College, and a 2011 winner of the Windy City Time’s LGBT leadership award “30 Under 30″. Lulu’s speech was recorded on June 07th, 2011 as part of United Latino Pride Week, in an event co-organized by IYJL, and the Association of Latino Men for Action. Check out the previous posts: “I’m undocumented and an ally to my queer daughters,” “Jorge: Gay, undocumented & Unapologetic,” “I want my Queer and Undocumented to be Friends,” “I’m Queer, I’m undocumented, and I’m out”, Today Means Complete Liberation”

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