In 2013, Stacyann Chin asked a group of 10 undocumented writers to write their 8-word biography. Today, I’m still working on that piece because I’ve discovered so much about myself since that weekend in San Francisco, but for now, this is what I’ve got:

Alan Pelaez was born in Mexico City to an Afro-Indigenous family but constantly migrated between el D.F. and a small village in Oaxaca, most commonly known as Morelos. In Morelos, Alan grew up with their abue, the local curanderawho taught Alan the importance of having a relationship with plants and listening to the whispers of the ocean, lessons that have stuck with them and influenced their art and everyday life.

At the age of 5, Alan migrated to the United States, to reunite with their mother in Boston, MA.

At 15, Alan began to publicly identify as “queer and undocumented”. Though their undocumented status was poorly received by friends and educators, Alan took the rejection as a sign to find community. An underground queer and trans community opened up spaces to question the ways in which migration, Blackness, queerness, and gender intersected, which is what led Alan to join the immigrant rights movement with a mission to work for migrant rights through a queer and trans lens.

Alan became artistically, socially and politically involved in the immigrant rights movement as DREAM Act votes were about to take place in 2010. In 2011, after the legislation failed, Alan slept 11 nights and 12 days on the steps of the Massachusetts State House to protest the criminalization of immigrants in the state through lobbying, community outreach, and interfaith organizing.

Since then, Alan’s political involvement with the undocumented youth movement has included facilitating roundtable community events with Senators and Representatives;  protesting detention centers in California, Texas, New York, and Boston; leading lobbying trainings in DC, NY, MA and CT; and occupying highways.

Although Alan has participated and been involved with many undocumented youth organizations, Alan’s political involvement includes organizations working to raise awareness about the geopolitics of occupied territories of historic Palestine; queer and trans organizing; and cultural art.

A the moment, Alan can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area pursing a PhD in the department of comparative ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley.


Check out the site for current work, and ideas on how to amplify the voices of queer and trans Black (un)documented folk!