Openly Gay, Secretly Undocumented

Oct. 3, 2013 / By

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New America Media / Coachella Uninc., News Feature, Brenda R. Rincon

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Juan Ceballos came to the United States so he could live freely as an openly gay man. But the move came with a high cost: he had to take on another secret identity as an undocumented immigrant.

Ceballos was 17 when he entered the United States by foot, a backpack on his shoulders, easily passing as an American student through the Tijuana border.

He quickly realized that, as an undocumented immigrant, it wouldn’t be easy to stay in the United States. And as a gay man, it wouldn’t be easy to go back to Mexico.

Ultimately, his fear of being deported outweighed his fear of being ostracized in Mexico.

“To be here was more difficult,” says Ceballos. “I was afraid.”

After only two months of living as an undocumented immigrant in the United States, Ceballos decided to go back to Mexico.

But he didn’t last long there either.

Read more at New America Media

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Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.