We sat down with Armando Ibañez, a Latinx Queer filmmaker and activist from Mexico.
He has been living in the United States for over 16 years and currently resides in the state of California. He is involved in the LGBTQ and immigrant rights movements as an active member of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.
Armando also recently collaborated with Lush by directing a short documentary, Freedom for All: Undocumented in the United States, about five fearless people who agreed to share their journey of migration and the pursuit of a better life.
This is what he shared with us about his life, work and hopes:
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Armando and I am an undocumented queer immigrant. I am from Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. And I came to the U.S. pursuing a better life many years ago. After spending a few years living in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, I also decided to come out and embrace my queer identity to finally be myself. I am now reclaiming my voice in the world.
Why is being undocumented important to your identity?
Living as an undocumented immigrant feels like you’re less than a human being. I used to think that I didn’t deserve anything good here, in this country. I felt guilty for the simple reason of pursuing a better life. My identity is important because I want to remind myself that I have the right to exist and to be happy. I’m taking back my humanity.
How do you feel Undocumented Tales will shed light on the undocumented community?
Most of the projects I’ve seen in mainstream media about undocumented immigrants always show people as victims. In Undocumented Tales I show characters being happy, dancing, laughing, falling in love, etc; and that’s the resiliency in us. Despite the struggles and intolerance we face every day, we still manage to pursue happiness and freedom.
What do you hope people will see in your work?
With my work, and every project I get involved with, I humanize my undocumented immigrant community. I want a general audience to learn about our experiences. And for my community, I want them to see my work and be reminded of how powerful and beautiful we are.
Follow Armando’s passionate work on the YouTube series “Undocumented Tales” and watch his amazing works as director for Freedom for All: Undocumented in the United States for Lush.