Wanting to Be Normal

Thousands of people gathered in West Hollywood on Sunday morning for the Transgender, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Pride parade. Abel, who didn't want to give his last name because of his legal status, talked to us about growing up gay and undocumented in Los Angeles. Abel remembers when he would go out to Hollywood clubs and bars with his friends. For many 21-year-olds, it's rite of passage. For Abel, it meant finding a way to getting in without an ID. "We used to wear these 12-inch crazy platform shows and crazy vinyl outfits," he says. Abel didn't have an ID because he was undocumented. He was brought to the United States when he was 10 years old. He quickly learned English and assimilated with his peers. No one knew about his legal status, but he lived in fear of deportation. "The government was telling me I wasn't supposed to be here," he says. "It was the dark side of my life I never wanted to look into."

Banner image: Ryan (L) and Abel with their two dogs, Vino and Rocket. Photo by Brian De Los Santos