“I Am UndocuQueer” Shares the Stories of Undocumented Queers, Wants to Hear Yours

Gabby’s Team Pick:

Julio Salgado is an out and proud “undocuqueer,” which is a term that combines undocumented immigration status with the word queer to give voice to those living in both worlds. Neon greens and oranges burst from Salgado’s tumblr page . Comic book style drawings of queers and quotes in curvy font provide a face and a narrative for queers who live under governments trying to squash their rights, build fences to keep them out and create legislation for swift deportation, among other things.

Citizenship is a privilege many of us take for granted. It provides us with access to higher education, keeps our families together, broadens our career paths and allows us to exist with one less barrier in the world. According to Salgado, in an article from insidelocal.com , being undocumented and queer is existing as “two oppressed minorities…For a long time I was in hiding about my sexuality and immigration status. But I’m proud to be out.”

Julio Salgado wants undocuqueers to come forward, into the light and share their thoughts with the world. From his tumblr:

I am UndocuQueer! is an art project in conjunction with the Undocumented Queer Youth Collective and the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP) that aims to give us undocumented queers more of a presence in the discussion of migrant rights. If you want your own “I am UndocuQueer!” image, message me a photograph from the waist up of yourself to [email protected] and a quote telling us what it means to be both undocumented and queer to you.

Also, if you dig deeper into his tumblr page, you’ll find some dope images of chubby girls and lots of information on the DREAM Act.

If you have an UndocuQueer story to share, Julio Salgado wants to hear it!

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Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for Autostraddle.com while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.


  1. “There is no such thing as single issue struggles because we don’t lead single issue lives.”


  2. Bloody hell! This is an awful idea! “Undocumented” is just another word for “illegal immigrant” and at the end of the day, that’s what it amounts to. Now, I am definitely FOR immigration reform, FOR providing amnesty to the people who violated the immigration laws and FOR giving an education to immigrants, but the fact of the matter still remains that these people entered the country illegally.

    These people broke the law. They should be given amnesty, true – but I believe that they should be given amnesty and apply for legal status FROM THEIR HOME COUNTRY. These people do have citizenship in another country and if they are unhappy with their country of citizenship, they should either try to change it or seek legal immigration to another country (unless, of course, they are refugees that have come to live in the United States, but then again – these are not undocumented people and they have legal status here). For example, I am unhappy with living in the United States, but I am not going to illegally immigrate to the country I want to be in. Instead, I am going to immigrate the legal way.

    Illegal immigrants violated the law. The best “visibility campaign” should be one that shows that reality.

  3. Uhm whoa…first of all “illegal immigrant” isn’t the greatest term in the world. People are not illegal. Mexicans and Native Americans owned this whole continent before white european settlers invaded, killed them and started setting up border patrols and fences…

    Anywhoos, also “these people” are often children of immigrant parents that were brought here when they were like 5 and are now adults. They’ve grown up in american public schools, are trying to create a future for themselves in what to them is their “home country” and are being told they don’t have access to anything. no education, no health care, no rights.

    So we should deport young adults who grew up in the US cuz of something their parents did out of desperation for a better life?

    and if Rush Limbaugh is ever president of this country, you bet your ass i’m “illegally immigrating” to another one.

    I find it best to not speak negatively about things that i have never personally experienced and know absolutely nothing about.

    That’s reality.

    • No, but these people’s actions are illegal. Do we not call people who play in sports “athletes”? Do we not call people who play music “musicians”? Not all people are musical, nor athletic. But people can be illegal immigrants simply by their self-determination and choices. Furthermore, the Mexicans lost the territory due to war and many of them have migrated to areas never considered part of Mexico. Furthermore, not all of the illegal immigrants are Mexican, so using that excuse doesn’t hold water as some of these people would be violating Mexico’s own immigration/border control laws.

      Secondly, don’t go dragging Native Americans into this, they are not violating the law.

      Thirdly, if the children of illegal immigrants were brought here illegally, then that should be a criminal offense charged against the parents – human trafficking charges. But now that they are adults, they should have responsibility for their actions – namely, they should move back to their country of origin and earn legal status like every other LEGAL immigrant has done. I can’t go to Canada, immigrate illegally and participate fully in Canadian society, even if I wanted to! Legal immigration is the best way to ensure that you are not forced to leave your “home country”.

      Fourthly, they do have rights. The same rights as every other illegal immigrant, vis a vis the United States. They do not have the right to an education here as they have no status here. Conversely, I can’t enroll in University in Canada and take courses without proper status (i.e. a study permit). In fact, Canada does a pretty good job enforcing the immigration laws by making sure their students have study permits. If only the US Universities could check legal status, I think that would help dramatically reduce the number of illegal immigrants in this country and help to encourage legal migration. As an aside, no one has any real rights to “health care” in this country. The reality is that health care is still an industry in this country and that’s unfortunate, but true.

      Fifthly, we should deport ALL ADULTS who have illegally immigrated to the United States and choose to remain here in defiance of the law, instead of going back to their country of origin and doing the right thing. I speak from experience. It pains me to be here in the United States but my home is Canada, I respect my home and I am going to immigrate there the RIGHT way, the LEGAL way.

      • If we’re calling people illegals because their actions are illegal as you claim, then why don’t we refer to anyone who has received a speeding ticket or been convicted of a crime as an illegal?

        • Simple. A speeding ticket does not define someone. This is not as simple as a speeding ticket, this involves a willful and wanton disregard for immigration laws on the part of the illegal immigrants. This involves a continual disregard for immigration laws by virtue of their choice to remain in a country that they have no right to remain in. This involves a defiance of the sovereignty of the United States itself. I’d say an equivalent is treason.

          It is a choice to violate the law in order to change where one lives and the community in which one lives. It is a choice that continually makes the person a fugitive, so long as they continue to break the law. We do have terms for people like this in our society (repeat offenders, ex-convicts, felons) do we not?

          The term “illegal” qualifies their immigration, namely in defiance and disrespect of all immigration laws. This is true in many countries, from the United States to Canada to Sweden to the United Kingdom to Spain to Japan to Mexico. Their very choice to continually reside in the United States is illegal. It’s just a sad reality that we don’t have the ability to arrest, try and deport every illegal immigrant in this country. The best thing we can do is to offer an amnesty program, improve border security and encourage legal immigration at diplomatic posts in these people’s countries of origin. Then, for those that don’t take the amnesty offer, deport them.

      • this is going to be one of those moments where I respectfully disagree with you and step away.

        because if i have to argue my point against someone who just said that people should be locked up for HUMAN TRAFFICKING for taking their kids to a better country, which i’m sure isn’t the reason YOU are in the united states, i may just lose my mind.

        and if i have to explain why deportation laws in the united states represent more of a symbolic f*ck you to brown people and less of an actual stance about protecting the rights of US citizens and its borders, i may also lose my mind.

        that being said, i really enjoyed your use of “furthermore”.

        “a wise man once told me ‘never argue with fools’ cuz people from a distance can’t tell who is who”

        not that you’re a fool but still all of this is just going to get ugly and i hate sweating out my perm.

  4. I applaud your stance on this subject Gabrielle. You had a fine and plausible argument.

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