Response to Link Between Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration

Response to Link Between Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration


My main motivation to attain an education has been to become an immigration lawyer one day to help those that are discriminated and underrepresented because of their legal status. Before the course, I had never thought about the intersection between immigration and the lgbt community.  People who are both queer and undocumented are almost invisibilized within the national discussion of the issue.  The truth is that there is no legal path for them to legalize their status in the country. Same-sex marriage continues being a major national debate with no clear end.

I found Julio Salgado’s work not only amazing, but also inspiring that he is not afraid to express what it means to be an undocumented queer of color.  My favorite image is the one of the male with the butterfly wings for multiple reasons. The most obvious are the variety of colors used. The words written on the wings are not only strong, but also in both English and Spanish. I also liked that the characters body figure is very realistic as opposed to the typical Abercrombie and Fitch model. Salgado’s paintings challenge many different issues at the same time, which I just find fascinating.

Furthermore, the short interview video with him is not only insightful, but also very educational. I learned what “gold star” means in the lgbt community –somebody that has not had sexual contact with a person of the opposite sex. My favorite part of the video is when Salgado says “You cant eat your undocumented cake and deport it at the same time” because it is a reality that the nation faces.  The United States government and society at large benefit from the labor of immigrants, yet they are alienated and framed as not belonging here and interfering with the “American way of life”. When in reality they only contribute to facilitating it for very cheap.


Links between Same-Sex Marriage and Immigration

Two major debates in the US today are immigration reform and marriage equality. Cisneros, Somerville and Lubheid have all discussed the role of sexuality and ‘family’ in shaping immigrant discourse and Lubheid discusses the implication for same-sex couples specifically.

by Julio Salgado

As we saw in class today, immigrant and lgbt rights are not separate issues- queer undocumented activists like those involved in UndocuQueer, for example, propose intersectional apporaches.

NBC Latino: UndocuQueer Movement Rises to Push for a DREAM Act

In a blog piece called DOMA and the DREAM Act: How the LGBT and immigration reform movements intersect, Carlos Gomar writes:

For many undocumented youth, “coming out” is a familiar process. Similar to how LGBT people reveal their sexuality or gender identity to their friends and family members, undocumented youth across the country are using “coming out” as a tactic to find self-empowerment, change public opinion and alleviate fear within themselves and their communities.

What are some of the pros and cons of this strategy? For example, what are queer critiques of coming out narratives?

Prerna Lal, by Julio Salgado

Prerna Lal highlights similarities between the two movements in Gays and Undocumented Immigrants – Nativists and Homophobes Two Sides of the Same Coin. According to her, both nativists and homophobes:

1. withhold a construct with power from an Other

In the case of immigrants, that would be ‘citizen.’ For the LGBTQ community right now, that would be ‘marriage’ –

2. insist on stubborn binaries

Insistence that the lines cannot be crossed.
“You can have your civil unions” (directly implying that marriage is off-limits)
“Illegal is illegal” (falsely implying that citizenship is an immutable concept)

3. engage in twisted, corny logic

“You have the same right to get married as I do – marry the person of an opposite sex”

“If you want to become a citizen, get in the line” without realizing there is no line for most undocumented immigrants.

4. use similar distancing tactics

“I don’t have a problem with immigrants, just the ones who come here illegally.”

“I don’t have a problem with gay people as long as they don’t do IT in public” or “I don’t have a problem with equal rights for gay people, but marriage should not be redefined”

5. repeat the rule of law mantra

Keep up the shadowy pretense that ‘mob rule’ and the tyranny of the majority is somehow part of the founding principles of this country and there is no such concept as civic rights.

“Prop 8 restores the rule of law as dictated by the people, not by activist judges.”

80% of Americans are against illegal immigration” but pro-enforcement candidates somehow keep losing elections.

6. distort numbers

Both groups also swarm articles and online discussions and litter their trashy hateful discourse to appear as the ‘moral majority.’ Offline though, neither nativists nor homophobescan usually draw more than a few dozen to their rallies for hate.

7. tout baseless chain effects

“When you reward someone for doing something, you encourage others to engage in similar behavior. That’s why amnesty programs are the wrong way to address illegal immigration.”
Heritage Foundation

“Gays are recruiting young children into becoming gay.”

Because when we hang out with tall people, we get taller.

8. invoke an alien status

“Why don’t you gays just get your own planet; and leave the rest of us alone?” (If there was life on another planet, I would seriously consider it)

“Illegal aliens are just that: ILLEGAL ALIENS. Go back to Mexico.” And this is said even for immigrant youth who have been here since they were toddlers, speak perfect English, and as American as apple pie.

9. employ discourse of hate


Notice the capitalization? Notice the dehumanizing words? Nativists and homophobes usually do not have warrants for any claims they make, hence reduce themselves down to adhoms and slurs.

Lal points out that both lgbt and undocument folks can describe their positions interchangeably.

“We are here. We work alongside you, raise our kids alongside your kids, walk the same path, shop at the same stores, drive on the same highways, breath from the same air supply and drink from the same water source. The only difference is that we are treated as second-class in our own country, because we are __________ (gay/without papers).”

What are the benefits and drawbacks of this strategy? How can this be successful in pursuing change? How is it problematic?

A note on images: The images above are by Julio Salgado, an artist and activist. Check out more of his work below and on his tumblr page.

For an interview with Salgado, see: 

Arguement Seed – Translatinas, State Violence, Security, and the PIC

In 2012, Bienestar L.A conducted research for a report on the Interactions of Latina Transgender Women and Law Enforcement, finding over 21% having experience being assaulted by law enforcement, over 67% reporting negative or negligent conduct when reporting assault, even so, only 44% actually informed authorities when crimes were committed against them. (Bazargan & Galvan, 2012).   Furthermore, as Tran scholars and advocates have pointed out, trans women of color make up 11% of reported hate crimes but over 44% of LGBT related homicides, how are transwomen and transwomen of color particularly vulnerable to state security and the limitations of police enforcement in ensuring safe communities and transjustice (NCAVP, 2011)?

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Uruguay’s Liberal Policies and Same Sex Marriage

The issue of same-sex marriage legalization is a current and hot political topic debated amongst politicians, activists, and the mainstream society as a whole. This class and readings have opened up an alternative perspective to approach this topic from the lens of postcolonial legacies, because lasting implications of the Church’s power remain as a strong conservative, oppositional force to the legalization of same sex marriage. This can connect to Spanish legacies of control, through both liberal influence from Spain and Spanish influence over Latin American political policies, and the church’s lasting conservative influence in the political sphere of South America. These concepts of lasting control show not only colonial legacies of domination, but also the continued interference of the global north over the cultural and political practices of the global south. When looking at the debate of same-sex marriage, an interesting aspect is South America’s lead in determining equal rights for queer/LGBT-identified people. Although the global north seems to have a dominant sphere of influence, the United States is not leading this cultural shift to legalize same sex marriage in South America, and South America has two countries with same sex marriage legalized, compared to only Canada in North America. My thoughts to explore on this topic are the connection to liberal policies in South America to the clash with the conservative church’s antigay policies. A topic to explore more closely is also the shifting pattern of LGBT rights to be more pronounced through South America. Same sex marriage seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds when thinking about the rights of queer people, but it is only a small factor. Uruguay also has had other liberal policies of same sex adoption occur recently, and also a raise in the age of consent for sexual relations. Instead of focusing on same sex marriage as the only argument, I ask what is it about Uruguay that makes the country more liberal than not only its neighbors, but the United States as well. These liberal policies are more congruous with European values, so another question to explore is how much influence comes from Spain and other European states, and how much is internal dialogue and shifting values of the people. Finally I call to question what is the cultural ideologies about marriage in Uruguay that allowed them to pass marriage equality legislation, but still holds the United States in a false heteronormative standstill.

Same-sex Marriage in Argentina

Marcha a favor de la Ley del Matrimonio gay en...

Marcha a favor de la Ley del Matrimonio gay en Argentina (Photo credit: Globovisión)

Context of Issue: On July 15, 2010, Argentina’s Senate passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Argentina is the first country in South America to recognize same-sex marriage and it is the tenth country worldwide to allow same-sex marriage. Argentina is one of the leading countries in the Americas as far as the progression towards acceptance of the LGBT community. Compared to the United States, which has reportedly fallen behind in these LGBT rights debates, Argentina seems to have taken the lead in this sense. Argentina maintains an atmosphere of openness to the rights of the LGBT community, even despite the strong presence of religion in their culture. Whereas in countries like Mexico and Honduras, who also possess a strong religious presence, pro-LGBT communities have approached the government with hopes of allowing same-sex marriage and rights, and were consequently met with intolerance and an “anti-gay atmosphere”. In the United States, the government is supposed to be separate from religion with the “separation of church and state”; however, the churches’ opposition to same-sex marriage has been voiced publicly and consequently discussed in the debate against the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States. The United States has been unable to legalize same-sex marriage and many believe that the churches’ blatant opposition and public position play an important role in this result. In this essay, I will focus on the comparison of Argentina and the United States in their progress of the same-sex marriage debate. I will also try to focus on the church’s prominence as a major opposition to the same-sex marriage proposal and how Argentina has managed to overcome this issue, despite the prominence of religion in their culture.

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