I am at the Netroots Nation Blogger summit in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with an amazing selection of immigration and LGBT bloggers and a promising agenda.
I heard that some people were taken aback about the prospects of putting both immigration and LGBT bloggers in the same room for discussion. Welcome to my life. I have been blogging about these intersectionalities ever since I started blogging, starting with my story. I have discussed my feelings about the defeat of Prop 8 in California as an undocumented youth, how nativists and homophobes are really two sides of the same coin, and what should really constitute gay immigration politics:
The movement for immigration reformâ€“permeated in heterosexualityâ€“has to incorporate queer voices and politics, and not just from â€˜Immigration Equalityâ€˜, which mainly advocates for gay American citizens without really questioning the problems with the conception of â€˜citizenshipâ€™ â€” a construction imbued in routine violence. Given the experiences of a second-class queer citizenship, what should constitute gay immigration politics is an inclusive effort to recognize citizenship as a violent construct that must not be denied to those who seek it. The concept of citizen has historically evolved violently from property-owning white males to include white women, freed slaves, immigrants of various nationalities, and people from colonized islands. To oppose expanding citizenship to undocumented immigrants is not only socially regressive but ignores the fact that citizenship has never been an immutable concept.
That’s my stance on this issue and where I can see real bridges being built. At DreamActivist, we don’t want to exclude or throw any immigrants under the bus and have never made our queer identities a secret. The parallels between immigrants and LGBT groups fighting for civil rights are obvious to us and our stories are visible and available to publish widely.
I truly believe that we aren’t going to get anywhere as a progressive coalition (if we choose to work as one) by parroting the discourse of beltway groups on immigration reform and/or jumping on the marriage equality bandwagon–we have to go to the grassroots and the actual immigrants and LGBTQ identifying people affected by the subsequent legislation to see what they (we) really want to see as policy.
Nonetheless, it’s fantastic to have immigrant youth represented at such summits and to actually speak about our issues in a room full of progressive, LGBT and immigration bloggers. The problem is always with following-up–are any real changes going to come out of the top-down movement for immigration reform or will we continue to try and tokenize and co-opt immigrant youth voices and worse, take resources away from queer youth?
I would like to thank NOI for making it possible for us to send representatives to the summit as well as America’s Voice for giving Piash a scholarship for the entirety of the Netroots Nation conference.