I was reading a local independent newspaper this morning that did a feature on LGBTQ youth. Interestingly, there were a few stories written by PoC that offered a perspective that I don’t see too often. One is of Santiago Garcia, an undocumented immigrant.
I definitely put more focus on my undocumented identity than on my queer identity. For me, queer issues are more about civil rights, and being undocumented is about human rights. I recognize that there is a lot of homophobia in this country, but my heart and my anger and my frustration is mostly about injustice going on in the undocumented community. Whether or not gays can marry—for me this is not a priority. To me, a priority is whether my mom is going to be OK, whether my dad is going to be OK.
And the other that caught my eye was of Mohammad Moustafa Kakar, a Muslim who was outed to his family over facebook.
I was so upset. I knew that I was about to lose everything. My father said I was dead to him, and his whole side of the family disowned me. My mom said to me: “I still love you. You are still my son. I may not agree with your life, but I still love you.”
A few weeks later, my great-grandfather died, and I drove home to Virginia for the funeral. When I arrived at the mosque, they would not let me go in. My dad sent a message through my cousins telling me not to come inside, and another cousin told me that I was no longer part of the family. I was hurt, but I was also really angry—they each took turns coming outside and yelling at me for being gay. I was always taught to be respectful to my elders, and I was trying to do that, and it was really hard to bite my tongue, but I did that the whole time, as if they had some kind of right to say that to me. When my mom came outside she gave me the biggest hug and she was bawling her eyes out and said that I did not deserve that.
My dad gave me an ultimatum. Through my mother he said: “Quit college, come back home, and I will still let you be my son. You can go to the mosque and pray for forgiveness and say that you will never be gay and then you can be my son.” And I said: “No, I am going to be who I am. I am already out, and I am not going to lie again. I am going to make something of myself and be the person that I want to be. I am not a drug addict; I am not living under a bridge. I am turning into someone, and I am going to live the life that I want to live.”
I don’t consider myself Muslim anymore. I stopped believing the day that I went to the mosque and they told me that I was not part of the family anymore.
Read their full stories here.