Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-08-27
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Cafe Crème: French restaurant charms Wicker Park patrons Cafe Crème: French restaurant charms Wicker Park patrons
Less than two months ago, Bucktown/Wicker Park residents graciously welcomed another new ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

VIEWPOINTS The time to come out is now
by Jorge Mena
2012-03-07

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Coming out as gay showed me just how necessary it was to address my undocumented identity. I dealt with both separately, but every day both of these identities influence each decision I make. Being out ( has not only been the best decision I made but ) has allowed me to be more mentally healthy while fighting for my rights as an undocumented queer Latino immigrant.

As I stood on stage in downtown Chicago—about to come out as undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic—my body felt heavy. I had practiced what I would say but the fear that rushed back into me for a second was something I could not have dealt with beforehand. I suddenly realized that I was about to come out to an immense crowd.

That day—March 10, 2011—I was anxious of who would actually see me on the news and how I would be judged. I remember thinking, "What if my manager at work sees this?" I was afraid of losing my measly cafĂ© job for coming out and talking about my identity.

I also remember thinking, "I need this. I'm going insane." I was about to graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and felt the same feelings that came forth when I was graduating high school. Feelings of frustration, fear, loneliness and anger at not knowing where my life was headed due to closed doors and no opportunities regardless of my hard work and education. It was overwhelming. I needed to come out and speak aloud to know that I would live past all this and that being undocumented was not something I would have to deal with alone.

One year later, I am still seeing the after effects of coming out. While I was doing it for personal reasons at the time, I quickly realized how it affected the people around me as well as undocumented youth I would come to know. Only months after coming out, me and five other undocumented youth, some who came out of the shadows with me on March 10 would get arrested participating in a sit-in blocking traffic and protesting the immigration-enforcement program Secure Communities. After coming out, I have realized that we are coming out to defend ourselves. No one else is going to do this for us, and our voices are ready to be heard. If you listen closely, our stories have potential to change politics and I believe that they will.

National Coming Out of the Shadows Day is about defining ourselves and not relying on others to show us what we need or who we are. It is about undocumented youth taking control of their future. This year, on March 16, the suburbs will also come out of the shadows in DuPage County, for the first time. Being undocumented in the suburbs can bring its own issues but the youth there are realizing that coming out is the first step to fight hate speech and programs that criminalize undocumented immigrants, running strong in suburban communities. It is not only in states like Arizona, Georgia and Alabama that immigrants are being deported. Here in Illinois, deportations have increased as families are ripped apart and undocumented people continue to be blamed.

Coming out is a process and there are still many young people who are scared to speak about their status. Youth continue to fear in silence as college response letters are quietly opened knowing that the resources to pay for school do not exist or that getting a job seems impossible. I want to tell these youth to stop feeling afraid. I want them to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that coming out means that you will not let anyone take away your humanity. We need to create a space where no one can ignore us and it begins with us believing that we are worth it and that we can achieve our goals.

I claim my undocumented and queer identities as they are continually developing and redefined while definitely being out. I invite everyone to come to come to National Coming Out of the Shadows and listen to undocumented people share their stories. If you are undocumented, know that we will survive in this country. But we will only be ready for what is to come if we are able to define ourselves, and be out about our status. The time to come out is now.

Jorge Mena is a queer undocumented organizer with the Immigrant Youth Justice League ( IYJL ) . He came out as undocumented March 10, 2011, and was arrested during a civil-disobedience protest in Chicago six months later. He is also a 2010 Windy City Times 30 under 30 award recipient.

For more information on Chicago's 2012 National Coming Out of the Shadows event, see www.facebook.com/events/347153208636270.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Global trans* group holds fundraiser 2014-08-27
GLSEN initiative; Cincinnati's trans* policy 2014-08-26
Retired Generals: Military ready for transgender service 2014-08-26
Palm Center's Belkin seeks to end military trans* ban 2014-08-21
Detroit police investigate anti-trans hate crimes 2014-08-21
Pedro Zamora's honor; N.J. trans student's troubles 2014-08-20
Trans* woman McShan wins right to be herself 2014-08-19
22% of workforce protected from Gender Identity Discrimination 2014-08-19
Angelica Ross: Using tech to empower the trans* community 2014-08-13
Trian Alexander aims to promote trans* visibility 2014-08-06
Supermodel comes out as transgender 2014-08-06
World news: South African murder; police apologize for raid 2014-08-05
LGBTQ, immigrant rights groups urge trans woman's release 2014-08-04
Wachowskis host TransLife Center benefit at film studio 2014-08-03
Dining news: Le Colonial special; Taste of Latin America 2014-07-30
Wachowskis to open studio to benefit TransLife Center 2014-07-30
Equality Michigan takes on MichFest trans ban 2014-07-29
Illinois takes step to end trans insurance bias 2014-07-29
GLSEN calls for further guidance on gender identity protections 2014-07-27
TransPride beach party draws more than 400 2014-07-27
Chicago Trans* Pride takes to the beach July 27 2014-07-23
NCLR applauds USDA trans non-bias rule 2014-07-16
Hobby Lobby still fighting to deny trans* woman's rights 2014-07-16
Laverne Cox on 'FREE CECE,' kids and uniting LGBTs 2014-07-16
Wachowskis to open studio to benefit TransLife 2014-07-16
MUSIC Trans singer Ty Nic releases 'Who I Am' 2014-07-16
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Sex-reassignment surgery and Medicare 2014-07-15
Wachowskis to open studio for TransLife Center benefit 2014-07-14
Chicago Trans* Pride July 27 2014-07-14
WGCI host tweets anti-trans slur, then apologizes 2014-07-11
ISU to make 'all-gender' restrooms available on campus 2014-07-11
UN committee, Chile see gaps in trans, intersex protection 2014-07-09
TransTech launches tech-focused training program 2014-07-09
Em VanderLinden on social justice, gender expression 2014-07-08
Gay team makes history; Laverne Cox tops world list 2014-07-08
Wade to step down as TransLife director 2014-07-08
Trans* billboard campaign launches in Chicago 2014-07-02
Discussion to focus on transgender military service 2014-07-02
Obama announces ban on trans bias for federal employees 2014-06-30
Chicago salutes the service of LGBT veterans 2014-06-30





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

DINING Freshii's Alex Blair on expanding empire
 
7th Circuit hears arguments for Indiana, Wisconsin equal marriage
 
Before we go moving the Pride Parade...
 
Michael Jackson tribute Aug. 28-30 in Gary, Indiana
 
E3 Radio to host 'Purple Tie' event
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.