Bailón walked into the room and told Ranferi and Eneida he had something to say. "I'm gay," he said. And the room fell silent.

In that moment, he thought fleetingly of his uncle and the way his family had treated him. He finally understood what his uncle had endured.

He says he knew his parents would not take the news well.

Bailón's dad, Ranferi.
Andrew Pielage
Bailón's dad, Ranferi.
Bailón puts on makeup to begin his transformation into Melissa, a drag character he's been performing as since 2011.
Andrew Pielage
Bailón puts on makeup to begin his transformation into Melissa, a drag character he's been performing as since 2011.

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Although the Mexican government offers no official studies on many facets of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, CODISE, a civil rights organization in Guadalajara, Mexico, that works to bring visibility to the LGBT community, has teamed up with universities to conduct studies about sexual diversity.

Jaime Cobian Zamora, the organization's president, says LGBT people who, like Bailón, come from rural communities face even more challenges than those who live in urban areas.

"In Guerrero, all the municipalities are plagued with discrimination," he says. "Gay and trans people are more often that not shunned by their communities."

Gay people who hail from rural towns sometimes are discriminated against even within the LGBT community, Cobian Zamora says.

"In the city, in comparison, there's a guarantee that you can be visible," he says. "You can walk down the street holding your partner's hand. Nowadays, you don't suffer discrimination from the authorities or even the church. But in rural areas, the discrimination is still the same, if not worse."

After Eneida's tearful outburst and Ranferi's refusal to believe, Bailón left his home to find some friends at a public park in Phoenix. It was 10 p.m. by then. He says he told them in between the tears, "I feel light. I just feel light."

Things would not get better for a while. Bailón's parents would bring up women in conversation, hoping that one day he would change his mind. When it became clear he wouldn't, they started to slowly get used to the idea. Bailón says now things are better than ever.

Eneida agrees.

"He's my son and he'll always be my son," she says. "Parents love their kids regardless of who they are. If God does things a certain way, then you can't change it. I'm a mother, and I don't care what people think."

Eneida says she is proud of Bailón's decision to come out because she always taught him the value of the truth, and she has come to accept him just as he is.

"He's my son. What can I say?"

In 2011, a year after coming out to his parents, Bailón discovered the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project after the first chapter was founded in Texas. Immediately, he knew he wanted to become part of it, and today he is the group's chair.

AZQUIP works to build bridges between the undocumented and LGBT community and to establish scholarships for members or QUIPsters, as they call themselves. Publicly coming out as anything other than straight in the Hispanic community might be a challenge in itself. For members of QUIP, the challenge does not end there. They are, often times, effectively stigmatized twice.

"From the LGBTQ community we get flack for being undocumented," Bailón says. "From the undocumented community we get it 'cause we are LGBT."


Part of Phoenix Pride, the Rainbows Festival is a street fair on Heritage Square in the heart of downtown Phoenix. It's a Saturday in October 2013 and AZQUIP has its own tent. The tent has a white banner with the letters QUIP on it. Flyers, pamphlets, and condoms in a variety of colors are displayed on a table.

Jerssay Arredondo, a QUIPster who attended ASU before Proposition 300 passed, is manning the tent. While trying to get people to approach the tent — and mostly getting turned down — he turns to his friends and says, "It makes us want to continue educating, you know? Most people are, like, 'Undocumented? Y'all exist?'"

Thousands of people attend this event each year. A few of them show real interest in learning more about the organization, but most of the people who approach the tent either want condoms or already know the QUIPsters.

The event also serves as an opportunity to promote "Drag for a DREAM," AZQUIP's annual drag show to raise funds that takes place at Aqua, a gay club in Phoenix that caters to the Hispanic community.

Jose Rodriguez stands behind the table and organizes the flyers. He tries to engage people as they pass by, but for the most part, his question "Have you heard of QUIP yet?" goes unanswered.

Rodriguez is secretary of the organization in Arizona and a national leader. He is out to the public but not yet to his family. He is careful not to be photographed or identified on social media, as he is afraid his family will Google him.

"It's hard," he keeps saying. "Dago is a social butterfly. He is a public face. I'm not. I always have to be on the lookout."

Rodriguez turns around, blows his curly hair out of his face, and keeps trying to pull people to the tent. Black tank tops with the organization's name hang from the ceiling. A couple walks by and sees the tank tops. The two women, who appear to be about 50 years old, do a double take as they pass the tent. One of them says, "Undocumented?" but they quickly move on.

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39 comments
robert_graham
robert_graham

He should be "coming out" in Mexico, not here! HE'S ILLEGAL!

donnied1
donnied1

Timely story! Great job...

saddayforaz
saddayforaz

I hope AZ loses the super bowl 2015 in Glendale,

IS Super bowl a BUSINESS?  are football players coming out of the closet?

Take the super bowl somewhere else, AZ is too small minded , too back words.

They will never be progressive .

downtownbrown
downtownbrown

What does he want? a medal? Oh just a free pass to citizenship and all the benefits he didn't earn.  Sale!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

Who gives a rusty rat's ass?  Hard up for things to write about?  Pushing an agenda?


Fedra Poppen
Fedra Poppen

Just read the piece today, if you re going to make negative comments please go somewhere else, I just can't imagine the hardship of going through all this, as a parent and a Hispanic myself I was very touched with this story, it's ridiculous to think about deportation when this is his home country, he didn't choose to come here, very easy to turn your head the other way but it is harder when you put a face in the issue, I really hope there's a positive outcome for Dagoberto, I really wish him the best. Great article!

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

Does that mean we get to deport these losers twice? 

dkessler4
dkessler4

I am sick of the intolerance and hatred that is perpetrated in Arizona by religious causes anchored in our legislature.  It's time that we all got together and took care of the bullies on the playground...


Don't forget kiddies, you can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.  Vote democrat the first chance you get for a tolerant Arizona.  

mrh0202201091
mrh0202201091

WELL IF YOU WOULD GET OFF THE COMPUTER EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE AND GO TO WORK...THEIRE WOULD 'NT BE A NEED TOO FILL YOUR JOB NOW WOULD THEIR.

Da_Coach_K
Da_Coach_K

First, Mexico send us the illegals who take their checks and send them to Mexico.
Now, they send us their queers too.

Jim Thomas
Jim Thomas

only need to deport him once thow!!!

jerseypeer
jerseypeer

Thanks, and God Bless. I know some pretty awful hetros, why are they any better than the alternative lifers? Let everyone not hurt anyone, but maintain law and order, period!

jerseypeer
jerseypeer

There are a lot of sickos on this site. Its the ILLEGAL part that's the crime, dummies. What do you care what he does behind doors, sickos!

Eric Selin
Eric Selin

seriously? undocumented is enough for me, ship it home. "come out twice?" I'd settle for get out, once.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

It must be a slow Week at M.C.S.O.

Kenny Benally
Kenny Benally

Kinda erks me that they're glorifying him coming into this country illegally.

Bubba8989
Bubba8989

"My name is Dagoberto Bailón, and today I choose to come out of the closet as an undocumented man and a gay man."

Turn the dogs loose.

Dan Mercado
Dan Mercado

His sexual orientation is irrelevant: come to this great country legally, or GTFO. Comprende?

DNichols
DNichols

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is probably frothing at the mouth over this article?

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

"... if you re going to make negative comments please go somewhere else..."    Golly Pop, in your bigoted world,  can people only make comments that YOU agree with?  

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

@dkessler4  In the meantime, kiddies, if you're feeling a little ashamed of the fact that your lawless parents smuggled you across the border  a good remedy for your woes would be to man up and return to home. That way NO ONE can accuse you of being an document-challenged euphemism! 

dkessler4
dkessler4

@mrh0202201091  You must have gone to school in Arizona.  You don't know where the caps lock is and you can't spell...

lisalisanoneya
lisalisanoneya

@mrh0202201091  Yep that is funny how they can take the spotlight off what they themselves are doing.And i thought freedom of the press in the constitution meant fair and balanced coverage. Not side with one segment of the community over the other.

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

@jerseypeer  everybody is entitled to their own lifestyle, as long as it doesnt hurt anyone. it may not be the lifestyle for me, but then again my lifestyle isnt what they prefer either. good for you for taking the high road

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

Big applause - now take your bow and go home!

armandocdll81
armandocdll81

A six-year old is not a six-year old forever.  Hopefully that child matures a little as the years go by and realizes that his parents broke the law to misappropriate a life in America that was meant for someone else - someone with ethics, skills and respect. 

mrh0202201091
mrh0202201091

@lisalisanoneya @coachwkr1   The Reality is. That many migrants are threatened to be killed if They do not comply with the demands of kidnappers.And unfortunately sometimes that means torture for them and there Familys.WHILE MANY HERE ARE LAUGHING AND THINKING THIS IS A GAME. IT is not a game to those that know the truth.

yourpoprock
yourpoprock

@dkessler4  And you can't spam repeatedly without looking as pathetic as you do dkessler...

dkessler4
dkessler4

@mrh0202201091  Anybody that wants to can stop the hatred and intolerance in the legislature in Arizona that characterizes mrh0202201091.  Get all the kids together and lets thump the bullies.


Remember you can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ. Vote democratic for a more tolerant Arizona where everyone including our legislature and the attorney general have to obey the law.

 
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