A big thank you to Lizeth for being the next entry of Birds of a Feather! Lizeth’s entry focuses on going beyond society’s labels while working towards understanding and unity. I am very excited about this entry in particular because I have wanted to include allies within Birds of a Feather for some time! And being that we are still basking in Donald Trump’s defeat in the election, we should now focus on building true community. Within the 4 years of his “presidency”, Trump spewed hatred, separation, misogyny, xenophobia, and more that has severely divided our communities. Now that our dark days of his “presidency” will be ending soon, we can foster and cultivate relationships not only within our community but also with our allies! Again, thank you Liz so much for writing this lovely introduction, the minute I met you I knew I had to have you write! ~ Cheyenne
Hello QT friends and allies!
Thank you, Cheyenne, for the opportunity to write this entry, and thank you Bird’s Eye View family for welcoming me. My name is Lizeth, my pronouns are they/them/elle, I am a fifth-year student majoring in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Chicana Studies. At UC Merced, I serve as Chair of our Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) organization established in February 2020. Our work is rooted in advocacy and creating resource support for our LGBTQ+ communities of color. QTPOC’s current efforts include holding space for QTPOC students through our general meetings and establishing a scholarship and emergency fund process to offer funding support to our queer and trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of color community. If you are interested in supporting or being involved in QTPOC please reach out via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Among my identities, I am queer, nonbinary, undocumented, fifth-generation immigrant, and first-generation college student. This piece is my very first, EVER, blog series feature, and is very personal to me. I remember ever since I was little, I loved to express myself artistically. I drew, sang, danced. All these expressions didn’t compare to the freedom I felt with writing. When I wrote I paid little to no attention to the structural limitations. My experiences and identities reflected in my writing, multifaceted, layered, breaking the standards I was forced to mold to, en veces difícil de entender, at times difficult to understand. This piece follows that inner child drives to express myself with no constraints and stems from my personal experience.
To believe that gay rights are a debatable topic is to deny the humanity of who we are. The lives we love are not up for questioning and debate. I have seen for far too long queer folks forced to defend their humanness, pushed to explain their feelings. Los sentimientos en veces no tienen palabras y aun son validos, feelings can’t be expressed at times and they are still valid. Acceptance does not hold exceptions, or clauses intended to forcefully bind us to the expectations of others. I do not live within the walls of the comfort of others. I transcend beyond the illusion of a gender binary, a binary is a belief of “two, and only two.” An exclusionary ideal that conforms to how we understand our bodies. I reclaim my power believing in myself, in my truth. I reclaim my story and expand my possibilities through the work of self-acceptance. And it is work. I must unlearn the mainstream standards of acceptance.
I dislike the term coming out, I prefer to describe my queer journey as coming into my identities.
The idea of acceptance of constant growth and learning of who I am, within myself. It was almost surreal when I realized the politicized nature of so much of our humanity. I was six years
old. Even more surreal when, at times, our own communities work to tear us down. It happens more than you may be aware of, to me, to queer and trans womxn and nonbinary folks of color. To be attacked at all fronts, by white supremacy, by undocumented people of color who play into the idea that they too can find freedom within the white sphere of influence. Talvez y alomejor, maybe, their idea of success is through the direct dehumanization with the same tactics, personalized to our own community. To the folks who have faced this trauma and violence, to me, do not question if I or you did anything to deserve that treatment. Their actions are entirely about themselves; it doesn’t fall on us.
When did you realize aspects of your lived experience were up for a vote in an institution built
on white supremacy? Have you had to realize this? To live undocumented feels like living through institutional delegitimization of my presence. It is coming to terms with an identity forced upon me. The undocumented perspective is unique to each individual and their understanding of the impact it has on their lives. Some denounce it, to some, it is part of their identity, some don’t disclose it, some can and willingly ignore it, some embrace it and reclaim the narrative. These are all valid reactions with varying consequences in our community. Living undocumented is not a homogeneous experience. Not every undocumented person identifies as a Dreamer since this label intentionally outlines the “good” immigrant narrative and criminalizes those who do fit these criteria. Being undocumented is not all of who I am, and it does not determine all we are.
Undocumented resilience, to live when systemic structures push us out. UndocuQueer. undocuqueer is a layered identity, to me, formed by the empowerment to reclaim my multifaceted being. There is not one identity which is “more” than the other, undocuqueer is an
experience encompassing living as an undocumented queer person. This identity centers on the anti-immigrant sentiments and homophobia undocuqueer folks endure in their life.
I believe there are beliefs in communities of color grounded in nurture, protection, equity. The grassroot practices led by queer, trans, nonbinary Black, Indigenous, and folks of color, allow for the imagining of a world rooted in liberation.
Folks that nurture and welcome us into a space of growth and radical healing must be supported. Folks must be protected. There are so many opportunities to get involved and directly support the work of these communities: inform yourself, loved ones, those around us of struggles and efforts happening in our communities, donate funds or help raise funds to support the efforts and lives of communities, get involved in organizations leading efforts, join mutual aid networks, create your own community networks, nurture and take care of yourself and each other. The work continues.