The Gay Men’s Chorus of Mexico City was detained at Houston’s Hobby Airport on October 7 as they tried to enter the US on a trip to Los Angeles to perform with that city’s Gay Men’s Chorus. A Homeland Security officer found sheet music in their luggage and inferred that they were performers in the US without the proper work permits. The chorus, however, is a non-profit group and all its members are volunteers. Agency officials got their backs up when they found that one of the chorus’ members, Jorge Gutierrez, a university professor of literature, had the same name as someone who had once stolen a truck.
The executive director of the Los Angeles chorus explained to Homeland Security that the group was being welcomed to an event sponsored by William Shatner, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and Mayor Eric Garcetti and that sending them back to Mexico would trigger “an international incident.” The intervention succeeded and the show in Los Angeles went on.