Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Immigration and drag queens

"You mean you didn't reserve a table?" the man at the bottom of the flight of stairs asked us with a hint of disgust.

"When I paid at the door they told me the show started at 9:45 p.m. and did not mention anything about a reservation," I said as I looked around Ripples, the popular Long Beach gay joint.

The man told us to hold on a few minutes until he got word that there was extra seating. I laughed because the place was no were near full. But we waited.

"Go ahead," the man signaled while opening the velvet rope strapped across the entrance of the flight of stairs.

We sat next Cindy and Kathy, a couple of nice lesbians who were probably in their late 30s or early 40s. In conversation with Kathy, I found out that she was a German immigrant who had recently received her green card.

"I'm so happy that I finally count in this country," she said in between sips of Pacifico's and bites of stale pretzels. "But getting it took so damn long."

Kathy worked as a waitress for nearly 12 years. While working as a waitress, she paid her way through law school and eventually received her green card last year. Her girlfriend lives in Seattle and their long distance relationship is taking a toll on her.

We shifted from the sad topic of relationship and started talking about how fucked up the current immigration system is.

"They make it so fucking hard for you to try and become legal," she said.

Aside from being gay, Kathy was an undocumented immigrant. Despite the fact that she had been with her girlfriend for nearly five years, there was no way that they could get married and fix her immigration status. Like many straights couples have done for years.

I told her about the many AB 540 students who are graduating every year from U. S. colleges. I told her how they cannot use their college degree due to their immigration status.

The lights went off and a Cher-look-a-like welcomed everyone. Kathy and I looked at each other and cheered. We indeed felt welcomed.

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