Phoenix Program Updates

Erin Mahoney
Youth Volunteer/OUTscout!

This past Wednesday, July 4, 2012, I and several others had the amazing opportunity to hear five Queer undocumented youth tell their story of the hardships they have faced being both Queer and Undocumented. These youth are from a great organization called Q.U.I.P, Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project. We had an amazing turnout of folks from not only one n ten, but from the community, as this was an open event. We had close to 50 people attend, where we also had a BBQ full of hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, cake, etc. to not only celebrate America’s birthday, but to celebrate what we hope the world becomes in the near future; A more free land where no matter what color your skin is, or what language you speak, you are allowed to go to school, get a job, and live life following your dreams without fear that it could at any second be taken away.


I am currently a youth volunteer at one n ten, and have been a part of several events hosted by one n ten. It just makes me so happy that one of my close friends and also another one of the youth volunteers at one n ten put this whole thing together with a few helping hands. He is undocumented and queer, and for him to bring people who are going through the same experiences as he is and having them each tell their coming out stories was very emotional and powerful for almost everyone who was there. It truly opened my eyes and showed me how amazing our organization is for letting us self-empowering youth be able to pull something this important together.

The five who spoke were incredible young men who explained that not only is it hard coming out as queer in their families, but coming out as undocumented to friends, partners, etc. is just as hard. They each spoke about how important it was for people to learn about what it means to be undocumented and how if more people just stopped a second to listen to their personal stories, and any undocumented person’s story that people would be a lot more understanding of what each of them have to go through on a daily basis. Each of them shared that coming out as queer to their families was almost slim to not at all going to happen due to what they already are going through with being undocumented. The wisdom and sense of power I and I am sure several others along my side saw in each of them was mind-blowing. They each were radiating this glow self-expression, and knowing that all that they have gone through has a meaning and purpose, and that is to spread their story with others to someday change the world for the better.

As the night finished, I walked through the center and overheard the amount of love and passion each person gained from the stories they had just heard. I personally was so blown away by how brave and fierce each of the speakers were with sharing a huge piece of themselves with a room full of people they don’t know. It’s amazing what bringing people together can do, and one n ten truly is the place that brings people together, to learn, grasp, and empower youth like these five young men to stand tall through all the circumstances they go through in life and know that we all have a voice. We all just have to work together to let our voices be heard. So on behalf of one n ten, I thank Q.U.I.P. for joining us and sharing your stories with all of us. It truly shows how much more incredible our world will be with all of us coming together learning about issues going on in the world and working together to make a change.