Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has come out twiceas a gay male and as an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines.
On June 13-14, he attended screenings of his new documentary Documented at the Gene Siskel Film Center.
The story follows Vargas' relationship with his mother, who has remained in the Philippines, and the life he's made in the United States. He lobbied for Obama's DREAM Act, which allows young immigrants to apply for citizenship, but did not meet the age requirement himself. His quest in becoming legal continues to this day.
He handled questions about citizenship during a question and answer portion to the evening directly after the screenings.
He stated, "Papers alone are not going to solve this problem. Culture is politics. Before we can change politics I think we need to change the culture. LGBT rights in the past 10 years have taught us that. Can you imagine same-sex marriage without Ellen DeGeneres on the cover of Time Magazine?"
Vargas was also on a past cover and insisted on bringing 30 more immigrants in for the photo shoot.
He went on to say that the DREAM Act is the most LGBT-inclusive movement that this country has seen.
Vargas eventually had to end the sometimes emotional questions from the audience then met many afterwards. He added that he's a fan of Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, and that he felt honored to have his movie screened in the theater.
Documented continues to play at the Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., through June 19. Look for showtimes and ticket information at www.siskelfilmcenter.org .
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn