Mexican Gay Men's Chorus Detained by Homeland Security in Texas
We've all most likely heard men's choruses, with their beautiful basses and baritones and terrific tenors singing magnificent music. Gay men's choruses are a more recent invention, with them being started after the assassination of Harvey Milk's in the late 70s and the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the 80s. The first gay men's chorus was the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, whose 40th anniversary concert will be held on October 13th. They will be joined by Mexico's Coro Gay Ciudad de México to bridge the gap between the United States and Mexico during this trying time of international tension. However, the event was almost ruined due to the CGCDM being stopped by Homeland Security in Texas, reports Los Angeles Blade.
On the morning of Sunday, October 7th, the CGCDM arrived at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas. A university professor, Jorge Gutierrez, was stopped by security to verify that he was not the Jorge Gutierrez that was wanted for stealing a truck. As he waited, members of the Mexican chorus chatted with him about the upcoming concert in Los Angeles which aroused suspicion from security that the members were visiting the US as paid performers instead of tourists, contrary to what their visas indicated. The CGCDM is not getting paid for the event so they would not need a visa to reflect that.
A Homeland Security officer detained the group after finding sheet music in their luggage, as they believed that the chorus was not being honest about the reason for their visit to the US, despite having their visit sponsored bybthe Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. The security officer was thinking of deporting the CGCDM back to Mexico. Luckily, another Homeland Security officer informed airport security that the group will not be paid and explained the details of the concert. After a short conversation, airport security decided to let the chorus proceed to LA.
While I am glad that this debacle has been settled, I'm saddened that it occurred in the first place. Airport security had the necessary information to know that the chorus was not visiting the US for nefarious purposes but instead they suspected them of lying about the reason for their visit and almost deported them. Why? Possibly because they are Mexican. It's no secret that international relations between the United States and Mexico have been very tense after Donald Trump's comments about the people of Mexico and also his comments directed toward Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. By suspecting the chorus of lying on their visas solely based on the fact that they're Mexican will only further divide the two countries, which is the exact opposite of what the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles' 40th anniversary concert is trying to achieve.
h/t: Los Angeles Blade