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Over the weekend, I was reading some pro-migrant news at a Catholic site that I had stumbled on via Google News Alert service. And on the sidebar, the very site was spewing hatred about same-sex marriage in California. The churches and religious ‘right’ who first established ‘sanctuary’ and are very pro-migrant, are also the ones who are very wrong on LGBT issues. So what happens when we have a gay undocumented migrant??
This post has been in my mind for quite some time because lets face it, those of us in the pro-migrant community know undocumented persons who are also gay, lesbian, transgender. This intersectionality is further complicated by our homophobic and heterosexist immigration laws that do not recognize ‘marriage’ or partnership between people of the same-sex, and hence we have undocumented partners who are forced to live in the shadows, break off their relationships or move to another country.
It is utterly discriminatory to single out a ‘particular group of people’ and deny them equal rights and protections under the law–that is not debatable.
The sheer increase in the hate mail on my pro-migrant/pro-gay Youtube videos since the marriage equality ruling has prompted me to finally say something. To some extent, I can understand arguments against ‘undocumented migrants.’ I can understand working class fears of migrants taking their jobs, respect for the ‘rule of law’ and those who apply legally etc. even while refuting them. But marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws for LGBT people? NOT even debatable, which is often why the comments I receive are hilarious:
“…California will face the wrath of Sodom and Gomorrah…Now that gays are destroying marriage, there will be a huge earthquake in California… violence, perversion, lawlessness …Sodom and Gomorroh II. The U.S. will come to an end soon…Thank god you people cannot pass on your impaired genes by reproducing…What is next–legalizing sex with animals?…Why aren’t real lesbians hot like the ones in TV sitcoms?…”
What is this –the new Comedy Central Online???? It reminds me of this one scene in The L word when Kate Moening (Shane, the poster child of androgyny) waves her hands in the air saying “Where do you live, ________? It’s entirely possible” when her ignorant straight male housemate says that lesbians can’t fuck. But we are going off on a tangent.
The point is that as an out and proud lesbian, I haven’t dedicated my time to the gay rights movement precisely because I cannot begin to wrap my mind around the egregious fallacies, inaccuracies, lies, misrepresentation and sheer IGNORANCE of a vast majority of people. But that will change in the next 6 months as I am not about to sit around and watch California voters dash the hopes and dreams of people in my community, some of whom are our idols, since we so lack representation of ‘healthy, stable and loving’ same-sex families.
So where does the church stand on undocumented gays and lesbians? Who do you think is more undesirable in the current political climate of immigrant crackdowns and constitutional amendments for marriage discrimination? And how can we support our undocumented gay/lesbian students who have to deal with both anti-migrant and anti-gay sentiments?
The biggest lesson from this post is that social and political rights cannot be ‘divided’ and given to people on the basis of binary categories and identities. It is not enough for some of us to push for just pro-migrant rights because even when some of us become legal citizens, we would be SECOND-CLASS citizens who pay taxes but don’t have our lives affirmed by the state. Likewise, it is not enough to exercise ‘federalism’ when it comes to LGBT rights since state laws do not affect homophobic federal immigration laws and the lives of our bi-national couples, who are torn apart by their countries for the crime of love. This struggle is not just about selective rights for a select group of people; it is a small step forward in the bigger fight against global inequity.
I hate identity politics. But it does matter.
Quote of the day:
“Gay haters just can’t get enough news about gay sex and gay everything.” jerrydoubleu