I came to the United States when I was 12 years old. My mother and I had not only hoped for a better life, but also to escape from an exploitative relationship with my father. We left everything and everyone behind to find freedom. Life wasn’t easy when we got here, but I was sure that as long as we are away from my father, we would live a proper life and I could be myself.
All that was shattered when my mom told me, just as I was looking into applying to college, that we were undocumented. I felt helpless and defeated. But I wasn’t angry at anyone, especially not my mom, for what she had decided to do in order for us to survive. I was just scared.
I had already told my mom about my sexual orientation and was very aware of the discrimination encountered by people who are queer. Being both undocumented and queer meant I felt locked out of two different worlds.
With my new identities, I quickly learned to choose between coming out as queer or as undocumented because bearing just one identity was easier than being punished as both.