Correct Papers and Proper Pronouns

Photo still “Crossing Over”

Within all of the toothy smiles and occasional platitudes in Spanish about comprehensive immigration reform, I’ve yet to hear a single politician speak directly about the undocumented transgender community in the United States.

I listen for the undocumented transgender community in any talk about immigration reform because any immigration reform that doesn’t specifically include and name the undocumented transgender community isn’t truly comprehensive.

I also listen for that inclusive language because my father is transgender.

She has lived life as a woman since my mid twenties, almost two decades ago. When I talk about my father, I use the pronouns she and her, as in, “My father’s blue eyes dance when she makes a particularly brilliant pun-my love affair with words comes from her.”

And while my father’s journey to womanhood has its own share of billowing joy and profound pain, she was born in the United States. She didn’t have to face being undocumented on top of all of the other fierce challenges that she faced/continues to face.

I learned of this documentary yesterday, called, Crossing Over:

Crossing Over tells the story of three transgender immigrants from Mexico that are seeking political asylum in the United States due to emotional, physical and sexual abuses inflicted upon them in their home country.

The team for the film needs post-production funding so that they can get this documentary out into the world. Please support them any way you can. Simply getting the word out can go a long way.

Documentaries like Crossing Over are essential for opening up our conversations about who is undocumented in the United States, and breaking all kinds of binaries.

Yes, I am a deported man’s wife. But I’m also the daughter of a transgender father.

I dream of a world where definitions of the correct papers and proper pronouns are borderless.


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