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Latino, Gay, and Undocumented in the Rural South

Undocumented, gay, and living in rural North Carolina, Moises Serrano felt trapped in a world that didn’t understand him. His struggles and triumphs are captured in Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America, a documentary by filmmakers Tiffany Rhynard and Kathi Barnhill. We caught up with Serrano to talk activism, acceptance and hope.

What inspired you to become an UndocuQueer activist?

Serrano: I actually didn’t know that LGBTQ and immigration rights were intertwined. After coming out as undocumented in 2010, I started working for a national immigration rights group called United We Dream. I met other UndocuQueer people from around the nation and they showed me that you can be queer and an international immigrant as well.

Photo Credit: Kathi Barnhill

When did you start to worry about being undocumented?

Serrano: I always knew I was undocumented, but living in our country, especially pre-9/11, I really didn’t feel a lot of repercussions. I started to grapple with my undocumented identity when I was watching TV and I would see the map of the Real ID Act. I remember feeling like we were under attack… like a scene out of a movie.

How did you deal with it?

Serrano: I don’t have an answer. I fell into a very deep depression, I just shut myself off from the world. It doesn’t sound like a good way to do it, but you also have to remember that there were no resources available for [gay and undocumented] kids like me. I didn’t have a support system until I was 21, when I met my friend Wooten [Gough]. We formed El Cambio. He helped me discover who I am.

Why didn’t you go to your parents about being gay?

Serrano: My parents were still very attached to their culture and their mentality, which is great, but I also knew that meant I couldn’t rely on my family as a resource of solace or empowerment. I knew that they would reject me at one point for being gay.

Photo Credit: Kathi Barnhill

What gave you strength?

Serrano: I’ve always been surrounded by strong women. I worked at a factory with these women, many whose husbands had lost their jobs in the recession, they worked multiple jobs. It was nights at the factory and cleaning hotel rooms by day. That degree of love and commitment they had for their families, that was something that has always stuck with me. I’m also inspired by mother and sisters and am grateful for all the times they have come to bat for me. If it were not for their sacrifices, I would not be where I am today.

Why did you agree to be in the documentary?

Serrano: [Co-Director] Tiffany said that when she first met me, she knew so little of the plight of undocumented immigrants in our nation. I just want to raise awareness and, if we happen to motivate someone to action along the way, that would be amazing.

Credit: Heather Mathews / Vimeo

READ: UndocuQueer Activists Changing the Immigration Debate

How did people at home react to news about the documentary?

Serrano: I came out as queer in the biggest Latino/Spanish newspaper in the state. I know my mother encountered homophobic comments that were said to her by her family and people at church. My mother is a fierce defender of her children, she has definitely become an ally to me and to my story. I think that after I came out as gay and undocumented, our relationship has gotten a lot stronger. Personally, I haven’t faced much pushback from the white-American community. I actually felt that we had a lot of support from them so it’s just the double dichotomy of these two worlds that I have a foot in.

Photo Credit: Kathi Barnhill

Have you seen the political landscape change?

Serrano: Since 2010, I have seen immigrant rights issues grow from grassroots efforts to immigration reform at the forefront of our nation’s mind. I also see the mainstream acceptance undocumented, LGBT and queer issues. I think most Americans agree on a pathway for citizenship for undocumented youths, but what’s going to happen to our parents? Our parents were the original DREAMers. My hope moving forward is that we find the humanity in ourselves and that we find the humanity in immigrants, that there is a pathway to citizenship that isn’t filled with obstacles.

What’s your advice for undocumented, Latino youths?

Serrano: Always share your story. The moment you come out as undocumented or queer, your life will start to get better. It will open all kinds of resources that you didn’t know existed. If it wasn’t for the fact that I came out as undocumented, I wouldn’t have worked with United We Dream, I wouldn’t have found the resources to go to college and this documentary wouldn’t exist. I want undocumented and queer children to know that it’s okay and it does get better. Your dreams are possible if only you try.

Learn more about Moises’s story at forbiddendoc.com.

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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All The Fun Streams Available On Netflix Starting In April

Entertainment

All The Fun Streams Available On Netflix Starting In April

Spring is officially here and sweeping in with a new bundle of shows and films to binge and watch on Netflix. From the much-anticipated adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series to a new David Attenborough docuseries, there are tons of shows to look forward to watching this April.

That’s right, spring into action gang, this April has a world of great streams!

April 1

  • 2012
  • Cop Out
  • Friends with Benefits
  • Insidious
  • Legally Blonde
  • Leprechaun
  • Magical Andes: Season 2
  • The Pianist
  • The Possession
  • Prank Encounters: Season 2
  • Secrets of Great British Castles: Season 1
  • Tersanjung the Movie
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family
  • White Boy
  • Worn Stories
  • Yes Man

April 2

  • Concrete Cowboy
  • Just Say Yes
  • Madame Claude
  • The Serpent
  • Sky High

April 3

  • Escape from Planet Earth

April 4

  • What Lies Below

April 5

  • Coded Bias
  • Family Reunion: Part 3

April 6

  • The Last Kids on Earth: Happy Apocalypse to You

April 7

  • The Big Day: Collection 2
  • Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute
  • Snabba Cash
  • This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist
  • The Wedding Coach

April 8

  • The Way of the Househusband

April 9

  • Have You Ever Seen Fireflies?
  • Night in Paradise
  • Thunder Force

April 10

  • The Stand-In

April 11

  • Diana: The Interview that Shook the World

April 12

  • New Gods: Nezha Reborn
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn: Seasons 1-4

April 13

  • The Baker and the Beauty: Season 1
  • Mighty Express: Season 3
  • My Love: Six Stories of True Love

April 14

  • Dad Stop Embarrassing Me!
  • The Circle: Season 2
  • Law School
  • The Soul
  • Why Did You Kill Me?

April 15

  • Dark City Beneath the Beat
  • The Master
  • Ride or Die

April 16

  • Arlo the Alligator Boy
  • Ajeeb Daastaans
  • Barbie & Chelsea The Lost Birthday
  • Crimson Peak
  • Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Season 4: Mexico
  • Into the Beat
  • Rush
  • Synchronic
  • Why Are You Like This
  • The Zookeeper’s Wife

April 18

  • Luis Miguel – The Series: Season 2

April 19

  • Miss Sloane
  • PJ Masks: Season 3

April 20

  • Izzy’s Koala World: Season 2

April 21

  • Zero

April 22

  • Life in Color with David Attenborough
  • Stowaway

April 23

  • Heroes: Silence and Rock & Roll
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Tell Me When

April 27

  • August: Osage County
  • Battle of Los Angeles
  • Fatma
  • Go! Go! Cory Carson: Season 4

April 28

  • Sexify
  • Headspace Guide to Sleep

April 29

  • Things Heard & Seen
  • Yasuke

April 30

  • The Innocent
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  • Pet Stars
  • The Unremarkable Juanquini: Season 2

Leaving Netflix in April

April 2

  • Honey: Rise Up and Dance

April 4

  • Backfire

April 11

  • Time Trap

April 12

  • Married at First Sight: Season 9
  • Surviving R. Kelly Part II: The Reckoning: Season 1

April 13

  • Antidote

April 14

  • Eddie Murphy: Delirious
  • The New Romantic
  • Once Upon a Time in London
  • Thor: Tales of Asgard

April 15

  • Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant

April 19

  • Carol
  • The Vatican Tapes

April 20

  • The Last Resort

April 21

  • The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass: Seasons 1-3

April 22

  • Liv and Maddie: Seasons 1-4

April 23

  • Mirror Mirror

April 24

  • Django Unchained

April 26

  • The Sapphires

April 27

  • Ghost Rider (2007)

April 27

  • The Car
  • Doom

April 28

  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop

April 30

  • 17 Again
  • Blackfish
  • Can’t Hardly Wait
  • Den of Thieves
  • How to Be a Latin Lover
  • I Am Legend
  • Jumping the Broom
  • Kingdom: Seasons 1-3
  • Knock Knock
  • Palm Trees in the Snow
  • Platoon
  • Runaway Bride
  • Snowpiercer
  • The Green Hornet
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Waiting

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