Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

LGBTs part of May 1 immigration march
by Yasmin Nair
2008-05-01

This article shared 4134 times since Thu May 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The 2006 Sensenbrenner Bill ( HR 4437 ) —also known as The Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005—prompted widespread protests nationwide. In Chicago, the March 10 Movement mobilized a rally of 200,000 immigrants in downtown Chicago. Subsequently, national immigrant-rights groups began staging immigrant rights rallies on May Day ( May 1 ) to emphasize the connection between labor and immigrants.

This year, the May Day immigrant-rights march organizers in Chicago have, in a change from previous years, included an anti-war message along with a call for legalization of all undocumented people.

That's not the only change. For the first time since 2006, local Chicago queer groups have issued an open invitation for queers and queer immigrants to join in solidarity with May Day organizers. Several LGBTQ groups, including Amigas Latinas, ALMA ( Association of Latino Men for Action ) , Orgullo en Accion and Gay Liberation Network ( GLN ) are participating.

So, queer immigrants will organize under a big tent—or at least a big rainbow flag. But what does a queer presence mean in an immigration reform movement that's focused on labor? Do U.S.-born queers and immigrant queers face the same issues around immigration?

This isn't the first time that immigrant queers have marched in the rallies, and many have been working in the immigrant reform movement before working for queer issues. Tania Unzueta, director of RadioArte's youth program and producer of the radio show Homofrequencia, remembers that the March 10 Movement's first rally in 2006 made her realize that she would be coming out twice—as queer to the immigrant-rights movement and as an immigrant to those who did not know about her background. She remembers numerous rainbow flags dotting the rallies.

For Aurora Pineda and fellow members of Amigas Latinas, immigration became an issue when they came into contact with immigrant Latinas who were not out. They feared coming out or getting divorced, not because of domestic-violence issues, but because they'd find themselves without legal status: Married queer immigrants face different consequences than citizens because they lose their immigration status as the spouses of citizens/permanent residents.

That raises the issue of binational couples. The mainstream gay-rights community emphasizes the issues of those who are either separated from non-citizen/non-permanent resident partners or feel compelled to leave the country to be with partners; the Uniting American Families Act ( UAFA ) is supposed to remedy that by granting the same rights of sponsorship of partners to same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples have. GLN's Andy Thayer, for one, spoke at length about the issue and refers to the 'legalization of binational couples.'

However, the UAFA only benefit those already with legal status. Even straight married couples can no longer use marriage as an immigration solution. In 1996, the Clinton administration passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The penalty for undocumented people, even those married to citizens, can be severe: They can be required to return to their home country for as long as 10 years, and can only return to the U.S. after successfully petitioning to return from within said country —through a complex and often onerous process.

For Pineda, family reunification is a major issue for queer immigrants. She and her partner Karen Rothstein-Pineda have an infant, are active in creating a Spanish PFLAG ( Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) , and she speaks frequently about the need to recognize the legitimacy of queer families. Pineda doesn't believe that only queers within traditional families should count and is critical of moralistic overtones in LGBTQ organizing: 'The reality is that once you pull those doors of your house [ shut ] behind you, you might be doing the same thing the person [ you criticized ] is doing. Who cares?'

The reality of the different social structures occupied by queer or non-queer immigrant youth resonates for Unzueta, who works with 40 immigrant youth, of whom about 15 are queer. She recalls one youth worried about her undocumented mother, who was also being harassed at work. Like many queer youth, queer immigrant youth can become homeless upon coming out. For Unzueta, access to education is, therefore, a high priority. The recent DREAM ( Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors ) Act troubles many immigration activists, because it promises access to college and legalization for undocumented youth—on the condition that they serve two years in the military. Many see this as taking advantage of already disenfranchised youth. Unzueta points out that it's especially problematic for immigrant youth who may be anti-war and for queers who must face 'a homophobic institution' like the army.

There are other issues that queers are concerned about. For many years now, several groups nationwide, including advocacy groups like National Immigrant Justice Center, New York's Queers for Economic Justice and the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, as well as local activist groups like CLIA ( Chicago LGBTQ Immigrant Alliance ) , have called for an end to the ban on HIV-positive travelers and immigrants. In addition, there's a push for allowing more queer immigrants to ask for asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation. ( Then-Attorney General Janet Reno legalized the measure in 1994. )

So, there will be as many approaches to queer immigration as rainbow flags on May Day. For queers and non-queer immigrants alike, participation itself can be stressful, especially if they have prior criminal records for even minor infractions. But queer organizers are optimistic about creating a safe space as well as solidarity with the larger immigrant-rights movement. Asked about what non-immigrant queer groups ought to be mindful of at a march that's about legalization of the undocumented and organized by an immigrant rights coalition, Unzueta is cautiously optimistic: 'I hope that it is with a feeling of solidarity rather than with a feeling of righteousness. Yes, it's important to fight for inclusion of LGBTQ people within immigrant rights, but the march calls for very specific things: legalization, worker's rights, education. This would be a space to create community.'.


This article shared 4134 times since Thu May 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation 2021-10-11
By Max Lubbers - Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/Bumerán, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...


Gay News

CAIC announces 2021 Collaborative Works Festival, immigration, migration in song 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO— Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) begins its eleventh anniversary season with its annual Collaborative Works Festival, held in venues around Chicago from October 6—9, 2021. The 2021 Collaborative ...


Gay News

Quigley again calls for end to detention of trans migrants 2021-07-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and a founding Member of the Transgender Equality Task Force, led thirty House Democrats in calling for an end to ...


Gay News

OP-ED Foreign drug pricing puts America's most vulnerable patients last 2021-07-03
By Guy Anthony - It's no coincidence that American companies led the charge to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Numerous policies—from strong patent protections to a welcoming immigration system—help ensure that the world's smartest scientists can ...


Gay News

Quigley advocates for trans immigrants during ICE hearing 2021-05-13
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and a founding member of the Transgender Equality Task Force, questioned Acting Director of Immigration ...


Gay News

Applications for asylum based on LGBT status top 11,000 between 2012, 2017 2021-03-04
--From a press release - A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimates that 11,400 applications for asylum on the basis of LGBT status were filed in the U.S. between 2012 and 2017. Three out of ...


Gay News

TANIA UNZUETA: Fighting for justice, one cause at a time 2021-03-04
- LGBTQ, immigration and political activist Tania Unzueta has spent the last three years living in Georgia involved in political and electoral organizing. She returned to Chicago in January with her partner. Unzueta came to Chicago from ...


Gay News

1.3 million adult immigrants in the US identify as LGBT 2021-02-23
--From a press release - LGBT immigrants are more often male and younger compared to all immigrants in the country An estimated 1,274,500 LGBT foreign-born adults live in the U.S., including 289,700 who are undocumented and 984,800 who are documented, according ...


Gay News

Cook County Board unanimously approves immigration resolution 2021-01-29
- On Jan. 28, the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved resolution #21-0495, which calls upon the federal government to implement policies to protect the immigrant community and strengthen the immigration system in the United States. ...


Gay News

Calif. court blocks Trump administration's asylum rule 2021-01-09
- In response to a request from Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order on Jan. 8 blocking, in its ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal, others challenge Trump administration's asylum rule 2020-12-22
- Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality and co-counsel Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP filed a federal lawsuit, Immigration Equality v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, challenging the Trump administration's recently published ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality to challenge asylum ban 2020-12-10
- On Dec. 10, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice announced they will soon publish a new rule that Lambda Legal said "eviscerates the United States asylum system," according to a joint press release ...


Gay News

Largest survey of undocumented immigrants finds acute economic distress 2020-12-07
- LOS ANGELES — The members of the California Immigrant Relief Assistance Coalition announce the release of one of the largest surveys of undocumented immigrant needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 91,000 Californians participated in the ...


Gay News

Judge orders restoration of DACA 2020-12-05
- Judge Nicholas Garaufis, of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, ordered the Trump administration to fully restore Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—an Obama-era initiative that protects undocumented immigrants brought ...


Gay News

'Lives at Stake' virtual panel Oct. 19 2020-10-14
- On Monday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Rainbow Railroad, joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Chicago chapter, will present a unique and timely virtual panel discussion entitled, "Lives at Stake: Implications of the U.S. Election ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.