When Javier was six, his mother decided to move their family from Guatemala to the United States. It wasn’t until Javier came out a decade later that he discovered the real reason they had immigrated.
“I guess I must have just been a very queer kid—that everybody kind of picked up on it when I was very young—my mother realised it wasn’t something that was going to go away,” Javier says in a video for the Human Rights Campaign.
Javier’s mother decided that it wasn’t safe for them to remain in Guatemala, a country where the LGBT+ community continues to face discrimination.
“I think it is very difficult to be queer in the Latino community. There is violence against LGBTQ people. I can’t imagine all the people who are facing deportation now, how they’re going to face going back to that hatred.”
Javier says his mother left behind her career and extended family to ensure he would have a normal childhood and the ability to “lead the most authentic version” of himself.
His family arrived in the US undocumented, and he remembers not being able to go to after school activities because his mother was unable to obtain a driver’s licence.
When he learned that Donald Trump was to be the next US President, Javier says his thoughts turned to all the people that had helped his family.
“Something that American people can do to help alleviate some of the anxieties and worries of their undocumented friends is to just be there for them," he says. "I think more valuable than anything, is just letting people know that you care about them. And that you’re willing to use the privilege that you have as an American citizen to fight for them.”