Undoing Borders is a collective writing project that comes out of the Migrant Justice Work Group of San Francisco Pride at Work/HAVOQ (The Horizontal Alliance of Very Organized Queers). We first started organizing together in 2007 when a group of us formed a contingent to the US/Mexico No Borders Camp in Calexico/Mexicali. That summer, at an event to raise money for our trip south, we were asked for the first time a question we would hear again and again for years: What does being queer have to do with borders?
First, we looked for other people’s answers to that question. We searched all over for writings and examples of organizing projects that came from the intersections of queer and im/migrant experiences. We wanted a Queer No Borders Manifesto as our compass (one that didn’t focus entirely on the need for LGBT people to be able to marry so that they can sponsor their partners for immigration purposes). Despite finding some good examples of this— Queers and Immigration: A Vision Statement (2007), or the Audre Lorde Project’s 2006 statement For All The Ways They Say We Are, No One Is Illegal, for example — we realized that there is still a lot of room to expand this conversation. This document is our attempt to add to the dialogue.
We hosted community gatherings, panels, conversations, and day-long brainstorming sessions to try to tease out the many ways queerness and a no-borders politic intersect. We spent over two years writing and re-writing, trying to figure out how twenty or so pens can share one piece of paper. What we have today is Draft #1. We expect every version of this document to be a draft, always changing as we engage with it and share it, as the context around us changes, as we learn and see differently. As different people add their thoughts and experiences.
This document was born out of action and conversation, and our hope is that it will continue to live there. We’ve been sharing it with all of the incredible people we organize with here in the Bay Area, but we’d also like a chance to get feedback from people working in the many different locations and contexts across our border regions and the interior. Nothing beats a face-to-face conversation, so we’re taking this manifesto on the road!
Check out the blog for dates, locations, and ways to support this tour!