26 June 2013
QUEER FILIPINOS IN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY CALL FOR GENUINE COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
Barangay-New York and BAYAN-USA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTIQ) Caucus will be marching together in this year’s 2013 New York City Pride March as a united contingent for Pin@y Pride Month. Under this year’s theme of “Rain to Rainbows,” the contingent will highlight the call for greater protection and unification of immigrant families who are separated under the conditions of forced migration and mass detention and deportation.
Last month, U.S. legislators amended the “comprehensive” immigration reform bill by removing the provisions for family reunification. In addition to limiting options for immigrants to maintain familial ties, families of all types–including extended families that are common in Philippine society, and those of various gender identities and sexual orientations–are often left out of traditional family categorizations. The growing trend of criminalizing immigrants has also left many more people vulnerable to family separation and deportation. The Filipino LGBTIQ voice naturally goes hand-in-hand with the voice of the immigrant community at large, and needs to be heard in the immigration reform debate.
The “rain” of the Filipino people is a worsening reality found in chronic conditions of unemployment, poverty, and oppressive policies in the Philippines that leave millions of people with no choice but to migrate in search of better livelihoods. According to 2011 Philippine Overseas Employment Agency data, the Philippines’ Labor Export Program facilitates a systematic exodus of approximately 4,600 Filipinos from the country every day who are in search for work abroad, many of whom settle in the U.S. As Philippine President Benigno Aquino III approaches his third year in office on June 30, the same day as NYC Pride, the Filipino LGBTIQ community in the U.S. must bring attention to the fact that many of their issues are rooted in problems in the Philippines including U.S. economic, political, and military intervention, joblessness, landlessness, and an underdeveloped economy led by a historically corrupt government.
The Filipino LGBTIQ community in the U.S. also faces anti-LGBTIQ and racist hate violence and harassment, police brutality, biased stop-and-frisk policies, and queer youth homelessness as a result of family rejection. Despite the fact that the Marriage Equality Act is in effect in New York State, the immigration issue has left many Filipino LGBTIQ immigrants with limited options for legal status and family reunification, and therefore cannot even benefit from this legislation.
The “rainbow” lies in the Filipino LGBTIQ community asserting their voices for basic rights and welfare. In effect, the Pin@y Pride Month contingent is mobilizing in the streets as a means to vehemently oppose the removal of the amendment for same-sex family reunification and to demand truly comprehensive immigration reform that will recognize all families. This political call is just one slice of a greater mass movement to address the overall needs of the Filipino people.
Join Barangay-New York and BAYAN-USA LGBTIQ Caucus “Pin@y Pride Month” contingent on Sunday, June 30th, 11am at 39th St between Fifth and Sixth Ave. The contingent is section #3, group #6.
Value Our Labor – Workers Rights for All!
End Modern-Day Slavery!
Overhaul Guest Worker Programs!
Unify and protect all families!
Family Reunification now!
Stop Criminalizing & Illegalizing Immigrants!
Due Process & Equal Protections for All!
Barangay-New York is an organization serving the needs and interests of all segments of the Philippine LGBTIQ community in the greater New York area through cultural, social, and political advocacy events.
BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org