Activists Not Always Open Minded

Gay Immigrants Stuggle To Find Place

Queer immigrants are having a hard time fitting in… Chicago Tribune reports that gays and lesbians are often shunned by immigration activists:

Chicago’s immigrant rights movement was on the verge of making history, and Nicole Perez was ready to lend her voice when she was told, with an angry sneer, that she was not welcome.

That was March 10, 2006. Perez and her lesbian partner, Xiomara Santana, had joined more than 100,000 demonstrators in the Loop for a march that kicked off a nationwide struggle for immigrant rights. Holding hands, the U.S.-born women looked at the Latino faces around them and were reminded of their own families.

Then an elderly man 2 feet away cursed at the couple, spitting out: “Why are you here?”

Conservative religions and tradition often alienate queer immigrants from their international communities, but gay activists and their allies are making a bit of headway. For example, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights recently began “talks” with gay activists to find a common ground – literally.