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Queering Migration Studies: Sexuality and Immigration Status among Mexican Youth in the United States
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In recent migration studies, scholars have started to consider the role that sexuality plays in shaping identity among transnational subjects. Previous migration research primarily focused on gender using a heteronormative frame, omitting large populations of people who identified as non-heterosexual or participated in nonheterosexual practices. By developing a queer theoretical perspective in migration studies that includes a range of experiences, academics can provide a more holistic view of migration patterns and experiences. Following recent work by queer theorists, this project studies how sexuality shapes diverse migration flows. The discussion can be further complicated, though, by including immigration status as an interconnected factor that shapes Mexican migration. Including diverse subjectivities in a queer theoretical perspective shows that ideas of self are malleable and can change within a variety of contextual transitions in one’s life. In addition, immigrant youth movements, such as the DREAMers and UndocuQueer, work to bring these issues to light, since many of the undocumented youth leading these movements are also part of the LGBTQ community. Through the lens of emergent theoretical frameworks, and by researching current immigration and gay rights movements, I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork with Mexican youth of varying sexual identities and immigration statuses in the state of Nevada to consider the ways that sexuality and immigration status affect personal experiences and shape identity among Mexican immigrant youth in the United States.