Reaching across cultural and language barriers, immigrant students at the San Francisco International High School have compiled profiles of individuals working to solve a problem the students are personally affected by or interested in. This change maker strives to establish equal rights for LGBTQ people.

Sveta Apodaca


Our group interviewed Sveta Apodaca. She is from Kazakhstan. She is software engineer in the Bay Area. She helps others by speaking about discrimination against the LGBT community. She talks to many immigrant and LGBT families all across the world.

More About Our Change Maker

Ms. Sveta Apodaca told us a powerful story about how she began this work. She joined the DOMA Project in 2010, when she was fighting to stop her own removal (deportation) to Kazakhstan by the U.S. government. She and her wife, Andi, fought back in a Chicago immigration court by filing a green card petition based on their marriage, even though the law called DOMA said they had to be treated like strangers. Although their request was not approved then, the judge still wrote her married name on the order granting her asylum-like protection, so this helped her to stay in United States.

After that, they began volunteering and organizing, and helping to tell stories of other same-sex families who filed green card petitions despite DOMA. Many of them have been together for decades, and raised children together. Many people were forced out of the United States because DOMA forced them to choose between their love or their country. They spoke out and fought back, asking immigration officials to interview them as married couple and to grant them green cards. Last summer, they all celebrated first victories; so many approvals at last, right after the Supreme Court-highest court in US-said that DOMA was unjust and no longer a federal law. (

What You Can Do To Help

If you want to help change the problem of discrimination against LGBTs, you can form clubs to help gay and lesbian students like a Gay-Straight Alliance.

Another thing you can do to help is get involved in the DOMA. This project fights for equality for LGBT bi-national families in the United States. Besides helping people fight deportations, DOMA also helps them reunite and come back to the United States if they were forced out. If you want more information, look at this website

Group Biographies

Tania Cruz, Rosmeri Perez, Alan Garcia, Sergio Erazo are in this group. Rosmeri Perez, 18, is from Guatemala.
Tania Cruz, 15, is from Mexico. Alan Argueta, 15, is from El Salvador.
Sergio Escobar, 17, is from Honduras.