Summer in America

There’s rarely a path to true freedom here if you are an immigrant

Deniz Çam
Gay Mag
Published in
13 min readJan 8, 2020

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Illustration by Eb Ball

ItIt had been six days since my anxiety found itself a cozy place in my throat, and even that didn’t stop me from taking a sip from the fanciest glass of Cabernet I ever held in my hands, $150 a bottle. The California sun fed its rays to the vines of Napa Valley, and I — a stranger to the West Coast until then — stood next to them with hopes that the sunlight would puncture my anxious knot. But instead, it didn’t leave for the entire month of October 2018. Sometimes it crawled down my spine, sometimes it sat on my heart, and sometimes flowed into my stomach and I lost my appetite.

For many years, I complained about how I didn’t get a chance to travel around America as someone who had been in the country for quite some time. After all, it wouldn’t have been right for me — a Turkish immigrant — to tell my grandma that I experienced America if, in reality, I spent most of my time in New England and then in New York. College was in Rhode Island and once that was over, it was almost as if my classmates and I had signed an unspoken contract to move to New York. But then that unspoken contract expired about three years later and unbeknownst to me, many appeared to sign a new one that took them across the country, to California. My grump and I, we, stayed behind and joked: “What is it…

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Deniz Çam
Gay Mag
Writer for

An up-and-coming New Yorker, who is sometimes neither up nor coming. Follow me on Twitter @DenizCam