The 'M' Word – Queer DREAMs Silenced in front of the California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court heard arguments for gay marriage today, in a suit brought by some couples and the City of San Francisco against the State of California. The plaintiffs hold that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is unconstitutional on the basis of California gender and sexual orientation non-discrimination laws. The debate boils down to the "M" word, marriage — Is it constitutional to ban same-sex marriage but give same-sex couples all the rights of marriage (under State law, not federal)? Does that still meet the equal protection clause? Obviously not.

For queer DREAMers (yes there are some of us 'out' there), the basic right to 'marry' is yet another dream for us that has thus far been unrealized. Homophobic immigration laws forbid us from qualifying for marriage-based petitions. Even if all the states adopt civil unions and confer the same rights to same-sex couples as they do to heterosexual couples, we do not qualify for immigration benefits, since immigration law is under federal jurisdiction. WHAT possible legal rationale is there to deny two people who love each other to live together in a country without being burdened about their legal status? What does society gain from banning certain people the right to call their spouses "wife" or "husband" instead of "partner?" Can anyone justify why we are even arguing about this basic human rights issue without appearing bigoted?

Not being allowed to marry is a travesty, and for a queer DREAMer like me, it robs me of an opportunity to legalize my status. With a 245i, all I would have to do is marry my girlfriend, pay a fine, and go through the visa process. But without that right, I am continuously pressured by family into considering a "marriage of convenience," which besides being fraudulent, angers me beyond words. For my family, legalizing my status is more important than my need to roll around in bed with someone of the same sex. But it is not a compromise that I am willing to think about, let alone consider. Why must I make compromises with the most beautiful and intimate part of my identity to "get ahead" in life?

I am also often disappointed at the fragmented nature of the pro-migrant movement. I see the Human Rights Campaign pushing for the right of bi-national same sex couples to marry, for immigration equality. Then I turn around and see the bustling energy and enthusiasm of people at an immigrant and workers rights marches. And then we have a lot of DREAMers, who simply focus on the right to an education and somehow gaining legal status. I am all these fragments and much more, and I wish we could find a way to unite these fronts, because it would ultimately make us stronger.

And I won't feel so silenced when I want to talk about immigration equality for same-sex couples at a DREAM gethering.


Queer TV Series Looking for a Home

A pilot has been shot for a TV series starring queer people of color, quite unprecedented in diversity. It is being pitched as Melrose Place + L Word + 227. Nisha Ganatra plays a young woman coming out. Check it out, especially if you know anyone in the TV biz, or if you/your organization might want to arrange a screening of the pilot.

Initial observations – While it packs more reality and diversity than the glamorous and glitzy L Word or any other pathetic excuse for a queer show, it lacks just that to be picked up by a major TV network. The project would have been more successful as an independent feature film, but it is worth a shot!

He was 17 when he was born

She sat there almost tranquilized fearing the consequences of her forthcoming actions, the path she had chosen to embark on. No doubt it was the road less traveled, it was harsh, an embattled life full of challenges, a thorny ride with no sure prospects of bearing any economical fruit.

Blink. Deep breath.

She opened her eyes and looked into the mirror. Unshed tears but also unswerving conviction stared back at her, beckoning her, challenging her to go through with her life-altering act.

She narrowed her eyes and bit her lower lip as she stared at herself, not out of indecision, but resolve. Jaws tightened and clenched together, moving to one side.


“So what should I give you?” The unfamiliar voice interrupted her stream of thoughts, if only for a second.

She sought the questioning eyes of the other woman in the mirror and spoke with sheer determination and will.

“Chop it off, all of it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” her voice unwavering, her confidence growing.

With that the woman began to slice through the long locks of oppression. They were without nerves and yet the pain of their coming separation visible in those unshed tears. The pain of the life left behind. But with that pain, a relief, waves of liberation rose as the chains fell all around the chair. In less than 20 minutes, the deed was done.

He looked at herself in the mirror. And smiled.

He was 17 when he was born.

For Desi Parents – How to Be Supportive of Your Gay or Lesbian Daughters

10. Do NOT bring up the topic of marriage to men or go around looking for prospective grooms FOR WHATEVER REASON. It is the most insulting and disrespectful thing to do.

9. Do let her cut her hair and dress in whatever decent way she desires. It is her body. Don’t taunt or make fun of her!

8. Give her space, ample room to explore her sexuality. Get out of the house and encourage her to do so as well.

7. Do NOT try sex education directly. Instead, discretely email resources of “interest”

6. Do NOT question or ask questions about “girls night out” or “sleepovers” – Only respond positively if she wishes to share any information.

5. Subscribe to magazines for parents of GLBTQ children – PFlag is also a good organization. Read up on news concerning queer legislation and other books of interest (i.e. the Vagina Monologues)

4. NEVER EVER cuss or call even the TV screen “faggot” or any other derogatory term for homosexuals.

3. Support her educational and lifelong goals and desires as freely and fairly as that of an older straight sibling.

2. Be welcoming of any significant others as much as you would support a “son-in-law”

1. Never exert any pressure on your child to be perfect or tend for herself in order to make up for being gay.