UndocuQueer conference takes place in Seattle

Fourth iteration of annual event to be held on Saturday



Matthew Jeffries, GIESORC director and co-chair of the UndocuQueer conference, discusses the upcoming UndocuQueer conference in Seattle this weekend at the CUB on Monday.

SHANEL HAYNES, Evergreen reporter

WSU and the University of Washington will host a conference that examines the intersections between immigration status and LGBTQ+ identity.

The fourth annual UndocuQueer conference will take place on Saturday at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center located at the University of Washington-Seattle.

Marcela Pattinson, co-chair of the UndocuQueer conference, said the conference was created when herself, the Crimson Group and former GIESORC Director Heidi Stanton Schnebly realized there was a gap between both the undocumented and queer community.

Pattinson said this year the conference has partnered up with the University of Washington in hopes to attract more student participation.

“We wanted to create a space for voices to be heard,” she said.

Matthew Jeffries, GIESORC Director and co-chair of Undocuqueer, said the conference will feature guest speaker Catalina Velasquez, UW graduate student. Velasquez will talk about what it is like being a queer undocumented person.

He said the conference will also feature DACA renewal stations and information for the LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities both together and separately.

“We’ll even talk a little bit about knowing your rights for undocumented students or students that want to be undocumented allies,” he said

Pattinson said the conference is open to all students that register. It benefits everyone to have the opportunity to learn in a safe place with people that you relate to, she said

Undocumented Initiatives Ambassador Linda Vargas said the conference is completely free for students that want to attend. Transportation, food and a hotel room will be provided for each attendee.

“The most important thing about the conference is that it is completely free for students and all that want to attend,” she said. “With most conferences, there is a financial burden that can come from them and we don’t want that to be a limitation for students.”

Vargas said she has been helping with the conference programming this year. She said that for this year’s conference the group has thought more about topics on which they want to focus. This year the group wanted to incorporate a workshop on coming out.

“Specifically, in our community, that can be something that is looked down on,” she said. “Speaking from my Latino background, sometimes our families won’t be so understanding about issues like that.”

Jeffries said he has high expectations for the conference in the next few years. He said he loves that the conference continues to rotate where it is held and that it continues to grow.

Jeffries said he wants the conversation about immigration and the LGBTQ+ community to continue even when the conference is over.

“Folks that don’t know anything about these topics should know we are here to help them learn more,” he said.