Jennicet Eva Gutiérrez, the undocumented trans woman who last month heckled President Obama during a special LGBT Pride reception at The White House, has written an op-ed for the Advocate in which she explains her unplanned action.
Gutiérrez writes that her action aimed “to demand the release of LGBTQ undocumented immigrants from detention centers and call for an end to all detentions.”
Arguing that commentary has focused on her actions to the detriment of the actual issues, she adds:
“It became a critical opportunity to interrupt the president during his speech on behalf of my undocumented trans sisters who are suffering daily in immigrant detention centers.
“Though unplanned, my action was about continuing to place trans immigrant women at the front lines of our movement. It was the result of an urgent need for my community to collectively lift our voices and bring visibility.
“[Advocate columnist Dawn Ennis’s] piece diverted attention from the real issues at hand — the dire conditions of trans women of color. And this is appalling. The writer missed a tremendous opportunity to inform her readers about the serious injustice that I was trying to bring to light: undocumented trans women facing horrific and inhumane conditions in detention centers.”
Gutiérrez is a member of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, an activist group that recently blocked a Los Angeles intersection to bring attention to “the murders that trans women of color are facing in this country.”
She continues in part:
“When faced with gendercide, deportation, and rape and abuse in detention centers, politeness is a luxury that trans women of color cannot afford. Authorities have reported in 2015 alone the murders of nine trans women of color.
“It is well known by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, and President Obama that these trans women are often sexually abused while in detention.
“The interruption at the White House was not about just me. It is about the continuous state-sanctioned violence and oppression my community faces every day. It is about the silence inflicted upon us by media and many mainstream LGBTQ organizations.”
“If my organizations had been too concerned with respectability and politeness, our voices would still be silenced, the average person would still be unaware of the seriousness of trans women in detention centers, and trans women of color would still be abused and suffering in detention centers with no one to speak up for them.”
Watch footage of Gutiérrez’s action below.
(Image via Facebook)