AAPI Heritage Month, LGBT Pride Month, and Immigration

By Steven

This month has been incredible. From attending a meeting with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren to participating in an immigration rally at the capitol, I felt myself thoroughly integrated into both the political environment of DC and the national immigration movement it facilitates. In hearing about Cambodian refugees, same-sex binational couples, and LGBT DREAMers at events like the ECAASU Youth Forum and different coalition meetings, it became clear that the immigration issue intersects multiple communities and various causes. The fact that so many of these communities are denied citizenship status means one thing. It means that while we are a nation of immigrants, we are not yet a nation for immigrants. And for me, making the latter a reality so that the former is truly celebrated has been what this movement is about.

As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month drew to a close and LGBT Pride Month began, I am proud to say my celebration of LGBT pride didn’t start in June, nor did my celebration of my AAPI heritage end in May. As an individual whose identity refuses to be singular and whose identities intersect, my own experiences led me to appreciate how issues that affect LGBTs also affect AAPIs, and vice versa.  For me, this symbiotic relationship between different identities and the communities that grew around them reminds us of why we need to stand with one another on issues like immigration. Through hearing from influential members of the DC community, like Jason Tengco and Congressperson Mee Moua, I understood how our leaders were once in the same position as me. While structures of oppression make queer, immigrant people of color work harder for positions of power, I am empowered in knowing that it is not impossible for me to change these structures.