Swipes Right, Finds Love: Queer Undocumented Woman Falls in Love & Finds Herself Along the Way.

by Tashi Sanchez-Llaury

I would always push us back like, No, we can't be all the things because that's overwhelming. We can't be undocumented and queer. We can't be Catholic.

My name is Tashi Sanchez-Llaury and I am from Trujillo, Peru.

It was after another breakup with another cishetero man. I personally think that it was a big rebound, but I think I took it a lot more seriously than a rebound and a lot more to heart because I decided to rebound with someone who was my friend.

And I realized that we had been hanging out again a lot. And I was like, “Hey, I think it’s time to name that this is where we’re at.” He was asking me to go somewhere and stay overnight. To me, those were girlfriend things. 

And I was like, “We need to talk about what this is as we move forward.” I said, “Where is this going for you? Because this is how it’s feeling. This is how I’m feeling. I continue to look for a relationship.” 

And he said, “Honestly, I’m still in the same place.” 

And I just looked at him and I was like, “I’m not mad. I’m really disappointed again. But also, that’s on me.” And I walked out.

My sister and I, at the time, still shared a room. So she was already sleeping because I’d come home late. And I just turned off the light and laid in bed, and I kind of lost it there. It wasn’t just this guy. It was a lot of different guys. And at the same time, even when I was in a relationship that I thought was forever, I didn’t really feel fulfilled. 

And that little question that was always in the back of my head always would come up when I had these feelings like, “Well, maybe you’re queer.” and I would always push us back like, No, we can’t be all the things because that’s overwhelming. We can’t be undocumented and queer. We can’t be Catholic. I understood that I would have to let go of so much of what felt safe. And I think, for me, being undocumented, nothing ever felt safe. And so, it was really hard to let go of the few things that did feel safe.

And so, I was laying in my bed, just kind of looking up. And after having sobbed, I had to get all of that out, it came to a calm space where I was like, I had finished crying and I was just trying to breathe because even though I had cried it all out, something still fell off. And that was when the thought popped up in my head. And instead of pushing it back, I said it out loud. I kind of whispered, “Maybe I’m queer.”

So I texted my best friend. I texted her literally that night, literally after I’d finished crying. At this point, it was probably one in the morning, two in the morning, being like, “Hey, do you think I’m cute enough to date women?” 

The next day was when she responded, the next morning, when she was like, “Tashi, don’t ask me stupid questions. You’re cute enough. And you can date whoever you want. You can do that.” And so, getting that validation from her felt like, Okay, I can move forward. I can do this.

At the time, I was already on Tindr, and Bumble, and God knows what else, but I was on dating apps. And I was like, Well, it’s as easy as just switching my preferences, technically. 

And so, I didn’t go on a bunch of million dates, but I went on a few. And I think a lot of times I got struck with a lot of concern about my undocumentation. Some people were like, “Ah, I don’t know if I want to move into that.”

So a couple of years ago, I swiped right on someone who I thought was way out of my league. At that point, I had come pretty far into my queerness where I understood that I’m not… I wasn’t bisexual. I was queer. I just wanted to date queer people. I did notice that they named that they were non-binary. And also, it wasn’t like I specifically chose them because of that. They just were really cute. And they had really cool things on their bio.

And the next day, I opened up Tinder again, and the person had swiped right on me. Then we started talking on Tinder. I think we talked that whole day. And then, the next day, I didn’t hear from them. 

And a day later, they were like, “Hey, I’m really bad at checking this app. So here’s my phone number.” And they just dropped the digits. And I was like, Now they’ve thrown it at me. And now it’s like, if I don’t text them, what happens? So I did text them.

I think our second date, we came back to their house, and they put on a documentary about… about food, but it happened to include this woman who was undocumented. And I’m just sobbing, sobbing horribly, ugly cry in this person’s room about being undocumented. And they just held me. They just held me. 

They asked, “Can I hold you?” 

And I said, “Yes.” And they just held me. And it didn’t scare them. And they didn’t try and save me. They just were there in that moment. And I started to realize that that was the thing with this person constantly. They took all of me. They didn’t allow me to apologize for parts of me that I was so used to apologize before. I never felt like anything scared them off about who I was.. And this was the first person who just took me fully wholly as I am.

And at the end of the day, I think that’s queerness. But it’s not… it’s about finding that person for yourself. And that’s what I realized when I found this person, it was like, this is a person who accepts me as I am.

Now, fast forward two years, a little over two years, two and a half maybe after that Tinder swipe, I am living with my current partner. We are engaged. We are slowly but surely planning a wedding. We just are trying to find what makes us happy while also having to navigate the outside world and considering what our future can look like. We both have things that make it hard to think of our future, being undocumented, being trans, being queer. 

I think often the trope is someone is straight and then they realize they’re queer, and then they come out. And that’s like the story. And it’s so much… everyone’s story of figuring out that they’re queer is different. It’s not, at the end of the day, about the outside world. It’s about you, right? It’s about how you feel. And it’s always worth it if it’s going to make you feel more you.

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