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Biography Critique Essay History Humanities Journal/Diary Law/Legal Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Coming Out of the Shadows and the Closet: Visibility Schemas Among Undocuqueer Immigrants

By Jesus Cisneros and Christian Bracho , 2018

Centering the experiences of 31 undocuqueer immigrants, this study seeks to understand the ways that undocuqueer immigrants negotiate the boundaries of social performance by revealing or concealing their gender, sexuality, and immigration status. Findings of this study reveal how, in order to avoid the constant threat of rejection (both legal and social), undocuqueer immigrants engage visibility schemas and make strategic decisions about coming out of the shadows and the closet across different contexts. Undocuqueer immigrants’ narratives reveal the ways the closet resembles the shadows in that both provide protection from the outside world, yet neither are considered suitable places for sustaining life. This study raises implications for both research and policy by considering how the intersection of gender, sexuality, and immigration status nullifies neoliberal narratives of coming out as an empowering process and illustrating the uneven landscapes of social acceptance and political control that undocuqueer immigrants must negotiate. KEYWORDS: Undocuqueer, coming out, undocumented, queer, LGBT, immigrants, closet, shadows

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