Audio Recording of Interview
Alejandro shares his journey of grappling with his family’s Catholic faith and his sexuality while growing up as an undocumented student in the United States. He discusses his experience as a DACA recipient, his hopes for a future career working with immigrant communities, and his desire to further explore his relationship with faith.
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Narrator: Alejandro Baez
Location: Bayonne, NJ
Summary: Alejandro shares his journey of grappling with his family’s Catholic faith and his sexuality while growing up as an undocumented student in the United States. He discusses his experience as a DACA recipient, his hopes for a future career working with immigrant communities, and his desire to further explore his relationship with faith.
Topics: Undocumented immigration, sexuality- complications with faith, places of worship, family, employment, education, childhood, future
Section 1: (00:00-13:33)
Family, employment - Talks about his parents’ decision to immigrate to the U.S. due to economic turmoil and cartel violence in his hometown, which he primarily knows about through stories from his parents rather than memory after leaving around the age of five. Both of his parents found jobs that were self-taught that did not require attending professional school.
Immigration process, education, childhood - Talks about stories he has heard about his immigration to the States where his cousin drove him and his parents across the border, when security was lacking at the time, into California. Really had a desire to flourish as an undocumented student despite not having access to certain resources and connections.
Section 2: (13:34-22:44)
Faith, sexuality - Shares his internal conflict between growing up relying on faith through difficult times but beginning to distance himself from faith because of the tension caused by Catholic views on homosexuality.
Places of worship, language- Talks about discomfort experienced when entering a place of worship with his family and knowing that he could never be fully accepted in this space because of his sexuality. Family attended a Spanish speaking church in the States, and he still wants to respect his mom’s dedication to and faith in the Church.
Section 3: (22:45-38:06)
Immigration process, education - Speaks about his experience receiving DACA protection easing his worries as an immigrant and as a student.
Sexuality, family, faith - Alejandro discusses trying to reconcile his religious background with his sexuality, but ultimately finds he has to take a break from religion to fully embrace his identity. He talks about not coming out to his parents yet due to their conservative beliefs and background from rural Mexico.
Section 4: (38:07-50:02)
Future - Talks about aspirations in finishing his undergraduate degree at Tufts then receiving higher education through a PhD program ultimately to provide for himself and others, primarily being his parents. This desire to serve others fueled his career plans in public health to give back to immigrant communities. Education is paramount and a crucial piece to his future.
Future, faith - Feels as though there is unresolved conflict in his faith journey and wants to seek out someone to speak with and unpack his conflicts with faith and sexuality. Regardless of the existing tensions, he still feels a larger presence of someone or a spirit watching over him, so he’s ready to have the conversation about how faith fits into his life moving forward.