‘It is very difficult to be queer in the Latino community… There is violence against LGBTQ people’
In some countries, being gay carries a risk — of abuse, of being arrested, or even being killed.
When Javier was six years old, his mom decided to bring him and his brother to the U.S. from Guatemala.
It was only a decade later when he came out to her as gay that he discovered the truth behind their migration.
Speaking to the Human Rights Campaign in an interview, Javier shared that his mom was hoping to give him a safer life after realising that he might be gay, even when he was just a little boy.
‘Right after I came out to my mother, the first thing she told me was that it was the reason we had immigrated to the United States,’ he shared. ‘I guess I might’ve just been a very queer kid… and my mother realised it wasn’t something that was going to go away.’
‘There just came a point where my mom decided we can’t stay in this country,’ he continued. ‘It’s not safe for my family, it’s not safe for me. And so, she made the sacrifice to come to the U.S.’
Javier’s mom had to give up her professional life and her extended family in Guatemala to bring her sons to a place that’s safer and more open to LGBTQ people.
‘It wasn’t easy for her to graduate from university, and then give all that up so that I could have a normal childhood and be able to marry who I love, eventually, and lead the most authentic version of myself,’ Javier said, adding that his mom works as a housekeeper till this day.
Even though Javier is now a U.S. citizen, he recognises the worries and risks that undocumented LGBTQ individuals face, especially when their home country is hostile to people who are different.
‘I think it is very difficult to be queer in the Latino community. There is violence against LGBTQ people,’ he explained. ‘I can’t imagine all the people who are facing deportation now, how they’re going to face that hatred.’
Javier hopes that people would lend a helping hand or a listening ear to their undocumented friends.
‘I think something that American people can do to help alleviate some of the anxieties and worries of their undocumented friends, is to just be there for them.
‘I think more valuable than anything, is just letting people know that you care about them. And that you’re willing to use the privilege that you have as an American citizen to fight for them.’
Watch his touching interview here:
by Nigel Tan