Article published in:Queering borders: Language, sexuality and migration
Edited by David A.B. Murray
[Journal of Language and Sexuality 3:1] 2014
► pp. 87–120
“Coming out of the shadows” and “undocuqueer”
Undocumented immigrants transforming sexuality discourse and activism
Coming out of the shadows is a powerful strategy of the undocumented youth movement, yet there has been little analysis of the ways that young immigrants have adapted lesbian and gay speech. This article examines three key language developments of this movement that intersect with LGBTQ language: (1) coming out of the shadows; (2) coming out as both undocumented and LGBTQ; and (3) use of the term “undocuqueer.” This analysis is based on observation and discourse analysis of coming out rallies and other activities of Mexican origin members of Chicago’s Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) and other immigrant youth organizations in Illinois between 2010 and 2013. These linguistic innovations reflect the leadership of women and queer people in undocumented youth organizing. Armed with language, activists are developing a confrontational queer youth politics of immigration that challenges both “homonormativity” (Duggan 2002) and citizenship orthodoxies. Queer Latina/o immigrant youth use the language of sexuality for self-realization, political mobilization, and coalition-building. As more LGBTQ youth of color publicly embrace their non-normative sexualities, they may creatively use language for social justice centered in their intersectional experiences.
Keywords: queer, undocumented, Chicago, Latino, immigration, youth, coming out, Mexican immigrants
Published online: 10 March 2014
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