A new documentary from Logo TV is providing an intimate and emotional portrait of what it’s like to navigate queer and undocumented identities while living in the American South.
“Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America” follows Moises Serrano, an undocumented gay immigrant who was born in Mexico and raised in North Carolina. As the rhetoric surrounding immigrants continues to become more hostile in America, “Forbidden” humanizes the struggles of undocumented queer Americans and provides a look at how one college-aged gay man experiences these identities in North Carolina.
“What I‘m really happy about this project is it focuses on both identities – it doesn’t back away from either one,” Serrano told HuffPost. “I think for a lot of LGBTQ youth there’s already a huge sense of alienation, not only in high school but from your families, your communities, especially in rural spaces that tend to be conservative or overly religious. I think, for me, there was a layering of oppression and so I felt doubly alienated... I was also facing this rhetoric by my own country telling me that they also didn’t want me and that I wasn’t from here. I couldn’t cope with the fact that my own country was telling me that I had to leave, that I wasn’t from here.”
Check out a clip from “Forbidden” below, followed by a more extensive interview with Serrano.
What can viewers expect from the film?
I think what they can expect is a human story. At its very fundamental core, “Forbidden” is about personalizing and humanizing the issue of migration. There has been an immense wave of criminalizing rhetoric and policy against the undocumented immigrant community and I think what “Forbidden” really does is it serves as a conversation starter and it serves as putting a face with such a huge issue.
How is a film like this especially important during this specific, tumultuous political moment that we’re engaged in right now?
Now more than ever I think there has been a huge increase in the racialization specifically of Mexicans, but also just of undocumented immigrants in general. And I think it’s time for us to fight back – the time to be silent, the time to be in the shadows, that time is over. That time is long gone. And I think it is incredibly important and pivotal that immigrants come out and share their stories and talk to their communities about this issue.
What are the biggest lessons or messages that you want people to take away from this project?
I think we are all human, we are all worthy of human rights. But also I think the “Forbidden” doc is a great educational tool. I think there has been almost a fetishization of our immigration laws and they’re been constructed to seem just and equal but I think what “Forbidden” really does it is awakens the American people to the fact that our immigration system is not broken – that our immigration system has always been used as a tool by those in power to exclude minorities that we deem as being inferior. In fact, our very first immigration law was used to exclude the Chinese, Japanese… so this is not anything new. If anything, again, we are just seeing a new wave of hate and fear towards undocumented immigrants in a larger cycle of discrimination.
“Forbidden: Undocumented & Queer in Rural America” will re-air Thursday Sept. 7 at 9:00PM and 10:45PM on Logo.