My Story: Raul Quezada and Ryan Steinmetz

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August 9, 2013

Raul Quezada is a gay undocumented immigrant. Raul currently works  for a faith-based community organizing group and is a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.

I used to be afraid: afraid to tell people I was undocumented, afraid to tell people I was gay. Even more afraid that my dad would come home and beat my mom. And when I made the decision to come out, my Baptist church -- which provided me with emotional support to deal with some tough situations -- kicked me out.

But now, after years of staying in the background and witnessing the trials that immigrants and the LGBT community face, I am no longer afraid. There are too many people to help and too many issues that need to be fixed.

Read Raul's story.

Ryan Steinmetz is a U.S. citizen who fell in love with a doctor in Mexico. Now, Ryan and Sal live in New Mexico and plan to get married in September. However, due to the strict border control policies, some of their family and friends will not be able to attend their wedding in Washington, D.C.

I’m a U.S. citizen, living on the border, straddling two worlds and two realities. Six years ago, I fell in love with Sal, a doctor, who lived in Juarez, Mexico. Our connection was instantaneous, and soon we were travelling back and forth across the border to see each other. Eventually, the violence in Juarez forced Sal to leave his job at the local hospital. He moved in with me on a student visa because he wanted to get his medical residency here in America.

When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last month, it meant that both of our borders could come down. Now I can sponsor Sal for a green card and we can truly start planning our lives together. While the end of DOMA was a great step forward for the LGBT community — which includes at least 267,000 LGBT immigrants — there are millions of families in the United States at risk of being separated due to our country’s broken immigration system.

Read Ryan's story.

Lambda Legal is committed to comprehensive immigration reform that that provides decent and fair treatment for all immigrants, including those who are LGBT or who are living with HIV. Read more about our immigration work.