Mark Morgan (South Africa) & Jaime Singson (U.S.)

Posted on July 22, 2011. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , , , , |

Sunday (July 27, 2011) will be bittersweet

By Miranda Leitsinger

Mark Morgan, a 32-year-old South African, has found a way to stay in the country to be with his partner, Jaime Singson, a 34-year-old New Yorker whom he met in 2007: going to school. He is now on his second master’s degree, jokingly noting that the money he spends is akin to some couples who would pay thousands of dollars on a wedding.

The couple is ready to wed but faces a conundrum: Getting hitched would highlight Morgan’s intent to stay in the U.S. after his visa ends in 2013 — even though they would also need such documentation to prove their commitment is legitimate.

Mark Morgan, 32, and his partner, Jaime Singson, 34, would like to wed but are holding off since it could affect Morgan’s ability to
stay in the country after his visa expires. The South African is thrilled for gay couples who can wed in his adopted home of New York, but just wishes he could do the same.

“We’re definitely ready, but we’re not going to take that step, mainly because … that’s even a bigger flag for me to be put on a watch list once my visa expires,” he said. “So that’s something we’re not going to do until DOMA gets repealed or deemed unconstitutional.”

Since it would be difficult for him to get work with a student visa and juggle his studies, the situation puts a financial stress on the relationship. The couple could return to South Africa, where Morgan was a strategic logistics manager and same-sex marriage is legal.

His family tries to “convince me to come back home and not put myself through this here,” Morgan said. But the couple’s life is in New York: “We want to make our home here.”

Morgan and Singson celebrated when New York state lawmakers approved gay marriage on June 24, but Sunday, when the law takes effect, will be bittersweet.

“We are going to be watching with pride and joy all of these couples getting married,” Morgan said. “But at the same time, it’s that yearning for wanting to be in their situation, but knowing we cannot be. We cannot take that step and be that bold and just get married.”

For other couples, the fragility of their legal relationship has them living day to day. Cristina Ojeda‘s wife, Argentinean Monica Alcota, 36, was removed from a bus in New York two years ago by authorities who said she overstayed her visa. She was detained for three months.

Cristina Ojeda, left, and Monica Alcota, right, wed in Connecticut in 2010. Though their marriage is recognized in New York, where they now live, Alcota, an Argentinian, is facing possible deportation. “She was in this horrible, horrible place,” said Ojeda, 25. “I couldn’t touch her, like hug her or anything. Everything was through a glass. She was in jail pretty much.”

It took months for the couple, who live in Queens, to recover from that experience — and from not knowing if Alcota could be taken away again. They got married in Connecticut last year, but they have another court date in December to review Alcota’s deportation case.

“A heterosexual couple, they can choose … where they want to live … but in our case we can’t,” said Ojeda, a social worker. “They’re just basically giving us the option of separating or just leaving the country and leaving everything that I have here, my career, my family.”

This story is located at:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43848013/ns/us_news-life/#

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Anonymous (Britain) and Anonymous (US)

Posted on October 20, 2010. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 I was required to visit America under the ‘Visa Waiver Program’ for no more than 90 days at a time, under the guise that I was simply entering for a vacation. This made a stressful and expensive relationship. While I was forced to quit my job in Britain to spend time in the States, I could not work, drive, own a cell phone or even a bank account in America – all the things most people take for granted. My partner was powerless to do anything to help.

Fortunately Britain is more equality-minded and I was able to sponsor my American partner after we could prove that we’d been together two years. This was extremely difficult, as the American way of life does not facilitate gay relationships to even help with the paper work.

By the end of 2005 Britain will drop the two-year waiting-period on gay relationships, and civil partnerships will be an option for bi-national gay couples to remain together.

America is severely lagging behind the rest of the western world. While Canada, Netherlands and Spain forge ahead with gay marriages, many other countries have civil partnerships and are opening up their laws to allow for equal rights for gay partners.

Meanwhile when visiting America for a two-week vacation last week, I was refused entry in Atlanta. I was searched, detained, fingerprinted, photographed, had my passport marked, and returned on the next flight back to the United Kingdom at a personal cost to me of $5,000.00.

After all the stress and financial burden we have been through with travel expenses and only one of us working, it seems that Homeland Security simply didn’t believe that we had actually managed to stay together legally as a couple for over three years. Therefore they cancelled my vacation under suspicion I was working in America.

The experience was extremely distressing. To add to this, two US Federal Marshals visited my American partner the following day. He was taped and interviewed and forced to provide his banking and employment information. Since then his mobile phone displays “ALERT” when he places a telephone call. The next day he received a letter from the IRS advising that his tax records are being audited for the previous ten years. What a coincidence!

The American government has singled out gay couples for mistreatment. We have been careful to abide by every law and hurdle placed in front of us and we are still being treated as criminals.

We have now decided to pay off my partner’s house in America and sell it for a tidy profit. My partner has wiped out his fairly substantial retirement investments and transferred the money into Britain where he’s happy to invest it.

The American government has lost my partner’s college education knowledge, personal business and future tax dollars. It has completely missed out on all the benefits I could have provided a community.

In the meantime, Homeland Security runs a green-card lottery for the world, including Islamic countries and the Middle East – and Osama Bin Laden is on the loose four years after 9/11.

My partner and I are happily settled in the UK. Our country treats us as a real family. We hold hands in the street and we speak to government departments on each other’s behalf. My partner has free healthcare and we have merged bank accounts, bills, rent, tax, etc. Most importantly we are together safe and happy.

We are not the only American bi-national couple that is suffering at the hands of the current laws in the United States. While America likes to send out a happy message that it is a beacon of freedom, the reality is that this message is old and rusty. American law is actually full of persecution and hate. Other countries in the world truly honor freedom for their people. America needs to update and amend its laws to match its rhetoric and stop treating its own citizens like prisoners in their country.

My partner is American, and loves his country. He misses his family and friends there. It’s time that Americans stop hating each other’s lifestyles and start treating their fellow citizens with true equality. I believe this needs to start at the top, where we pray for equal governmental laws for gay and straight people alike. Maybe then love and equality will eventually filter down to ordinary people on the street.

– Anonymous UK citizen in London, England

Information posted at: http://loveexiles.org/UK_US_story.htm

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Jen (US) and Loz (UK)

Posted on June 19, 2010. Filed under: Stories - from other sites | Tags: , , , , , , |

“Let me die, die trying; if I fall, at least my heart will have been true. Let me die, die trying; I can cry tomorrow if I do.”

Kristen Hall intertwines the necessary optimism and ever-lingering pessimism same-sex bi-national couples suffer in these two lines from one of my favourites of her insightfully written songs. When I listen to her velvety voice wrapping itself around these words, I feel the bristle of pain and anger that springs from a relationship started with pure joy and naïveté. Like many who are partnered with a same-sex foreigner, I often find myself teetering between tossing in the towel and jumping full force into the uncertainty of starting over, propelled equally by love and desperation.

I’m not over-dramatising—I’m a girl in love with a girl who just happens to come from another country, my country’s greatest ally—the United Kingdom. The more liberal UK, old-world as it may seem to some BBC-watching, spirit of ’76 Americans, has at least got some respect for love in its many forms. They realize that the world doesn’t revolve around heterosexuality, however much our current administration would like us to think it does. Their government acknowledges that its worldly citizens fall in love with foreigners, dirty as the word has become in our own country, and give them legal immigration options.

The UK passed immigration law for its citizens to sponsor unmarried partners in 1997, including same-sex couples in this group. “Under this concession a couple must show that they have been living together for four years or more and intend to continue to live together permanently. Once admitted they will have to show that the relationship has subsisted for a further year before being granted settlement”, stated the Immigration Minister, Mike O’Brien. In 1999 this was improved by lessening the prerequisite length of relationship proof to two years.

My country has let me down. Though a bill called the Permanent Partners Immigration Act (PPIA) was introduced to the House of Representatives on the 14th February, 2000— (how appropriate)— by congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), it has yet to garner enough support to come up for vote. This simple, but life-altering legislation would add “permanent partner” behind “spouse” in our INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) text. It is similar to ones introduced and passed in 16 (yes, sixteen!) other countries across the world, from Canada and the United Kingdom to Norway, South Africa and Israel to name a few.

Though it doesn’t guarantee gay and lesbian Americans in bi-national relationships any more rights than other homosexuals, who’ve fallen in love with other Americans, the PPIA needs to pass. I want to spend more than three months at a time with my partner, to wake up beside her every morning instead of having to call or email to find out how her last several days have gone. It would be nice for us bi-nats to settle into a routine without the constant knowledge that we have nothing allowing us to embark upon the journey of our own ‘American dreams’.

As testament to our patriotism, many of us have truly given America every chance—we’ve put our lives on hold, emptied our pockets and racked up credit card debts buying multiple flights for our partners, hoping and praying that this time we’d find a way to stay. In Loz and mine’s case, we’d find that elusive employer who’d sponsor her for a work visa, because I can’t sponsor her, we can’t afford to send her back to university, and her country hasn’t necessitated her fleeing and needing to seek asylum. Oh, and we didn’t have a million dollars to start a business, because America does welcome wealthy capitalists.

Even those who do manage to use one of these means to keep their partner in the country are faced with that expiration date looming over their heads like a stay of execution. People graduate or run out of money to study further, lay-offs happen and, not surprisingly, other countries are improving their laws respective to the LGBT community, causing some to have to reconsider their asylum status. America isn’t a safe long-term investment for same-sex bi-national couples; we have to consider our sanity and stability.

Americans are being forced out—exiled from our own country to be with the ones we love. Jet-lagging, disillusioned, financially and emotionally scarred, we are arriving at the doorsteps of democracies which actually practice what they preach. We are Love Exiles—a group started by a couple in the Netherlands, Martha and Lin McDevitt-Pugh—and we are pissed off! Chapters are springing up in other countries, where our relationship is recognized and our numbers are ever-increasing.

George Bush would probably get that annoying smirk on his face, when told of all the gays leaving America. He may even be mumbling ‘good riddance’ under his breath, but I’m not going to let him have the last word. It’s inhumane and cruel what America does to its own citizens: families are ripped asunder, communities torn apart, employers are losing talent and experience, and we are being denied are right to pursue happiness in our own country. Our lack of rights is leaving holes in the poorly stitched fabric of our democracy.

It is a duplicitous loss—we are lost to our family, friends, co-workers and community, and they are lost to us. Though we gain the right to both live and work in the same country, Loz and I lose dozens of friends, the nearness and dearness of my family, our three cats, most of our stuff through sale or storage, my credit history, my car, my right to unemployment and welfare should I need them, and my rung on the employment ladder. Our commitment is tested by these challenges and stresses; the mettle of our relationship forged in fires of federal fundamentalism.

We are forced to go, and must prove worthy of the UK “permanent partner sponsorship” visa by putting together our file of proof and documentation of at least two years of dating, living together and financial inter-dependence. We present for an immigration office’s scrutiny: our personal emails and letters, dated photos, letters of support from friends and family, apartment leases bearing both our names, medical bills, credit cards, my life insurance plan listing Loz as beneficiary—all proving the existence of our relationship and our ‘commitment’ to each other.

As well as giving someone your most personal documents to peruse, you also pay a whopping fee, now $520, for the consideration they give to your application. Hopefully you also get the sticker, bearing those words UNITED KINGDOM, ENTRY CLEARANCE and next to Type: TO JOIN PARTNER. It’s not the most romantic way to start a new life together—a stranger weighing our hopes and dreams in his hands, taking copies of what they deem most evidentiary. It’s scary and certainly stress-inducing, but I have to admit that we are lucky to have even this option, unlike many couples, for which options are scarcer.

If all goes to plan, then later this year, after my lucky brother’s wedding in October, “I’ll be crossing the Atlantic without charts…following my compass in the dark,” as another Kristen Hall song aptly puts it. I’ll be leaving America to enrich my life in a freer society, ashamed of my own country’s inability to see love beyond borders, without limits or prejudices—to give my relationship a fighting chance. As I head for London on that plane, cleared for entry as an acknowledged same-sex partner, I’ll happily be singing along to Kristen: “…my sails are ragged, but my sights are set on the comfort of a more forgiving shore and a life that’s more worth living for”.

This story is located at: http://loveexiles.org/jenn_story.htm

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

The Marriage Metaphor – Why we should know the meaning behind words

Posted on March 9, 2010. Filed under: Collective Wisdom, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By: Beau Williams
Date: March 8, 2010

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Immigration Stories, A Collective Wisdom. I wish to know more about, and conduct research at a later date, on the challenges and experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender immigrants. My reason for approaching the issue in the manner is that I think story telling as an educational tool can be very powerful. So, what I am proposing and am doing is putting out requests that give the identified population a chance to share their stories as well as am searching far and wide for stories that have already been captured and am putting them together to create a collective wisdom. My reason for approaching the subject in this manner is to give a nurturing space for creating community and providing access to information that will support others during a time that could potentially be one of the most stressful and difficult transitions in their lives.

 In collecting these stories there is one issue that seems to stand out to me more then most of the others. As of January 2010 there are over 36,000 bi-national couples dealing with additional stress on their relationship due to the fact their country of origin has failed to legally recognize their relationship. The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act allow permanent residents to sponsor their spouses and their spouse’s immediate family for the purposes of immigration. However, same-sex partners of permanent residents and U.S. citizens will not be taken into consideration as spouses and their companion/partners are not permitted to sponsor them for family based immigration. As such many bi-national same sex couples are kept apart or forced to live in others countries where same sex marriage is recognized (Human Rights Campaign, 2010).

 With the many different elements in my project this element was most surprising to me. Not that I did not believe it to be true but rather it simply had not occurred to me. The idea that a couple’s relationship is ignored or not acknowledged seems to disturb me more and more as I come across these stories. 

 For as long as I can remember many gay couples who lived together would apply a term to their relationship that did not literally apply but metaphorically it did, that term being the word marriage. Personally, I consider myself to be married to my partner of 10 years. He and I have never celebrated our union through a wedding ceremony nor in the eyes of the federal government are we legally permitted to call our relationship a marriage, to include all of the benefits there of. The legal acceptance is not that important to us personally as we have legal documents in place to cover many of the important issues we want to be addressed should something happen to either or both of us. However, many other couples do not have this luxury. One such example: “J.W. Lown is the former mayor of San Angelo, Texas. Earlier this year he was forced to choose between his home and the community that had just re-elected him as mayor, and his partner. He now lives in exile in Mexico because his relationship with his same-sex partner is not recognized under US immigration law (See Appendix D).” Had Mr. Lown and his partner been given the legal option of marriage this would be a non-issue, they could have lived happily in the U.S. and San Angelo would have been able to keep the mayor they had reelected. However, that is not the case because the metaphor of marriage means different things to different people and the under lying belief systems are likely to keep this difference in understanding in place for the near future.

 The use of the word marriage is millennia old and steeped in tradition. Marriage as metaphor can mean many things. Such as, any close, intimate association or matching of different elements, components, and words. Currently that most popular understood and broadly accepted use of the metaphor is the social institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments and/or religious ceremonies (Dictionary.com, 2010), this is the more commonly accepted as the conservative western view. It is in this difference that I will dive in and examine the metaphor more closely to better understand the conflict and suggest a use of language that is intended to support the ‘marriage’ metaphor and of the differences in the understandings, how it is used in mainstream culture for heterosexual unions, the conservative worldview, and how the metaphor is used with in the gay and lesbian culture to gain a resemblance of the union of marriage privileged to the heterosexual class, more commonly accepted as the liberal western view or worldview.. 

 “In the Untied States we generally try to think of values as being equal for everyone but in reality things are not and as a result we often end up with conflicts within our metaphors associated with those values (Lakoff, 2003, pg 23).” These conflicts arise from a theory of truth based on a worldview and not one through which a ‘pure objective truth’ of which Lakoff would suggest does not exist and is also of the opinion that it is pointless to try and give theory to the truth  “Because so many of the concepts that are important to us are either abstract or not clearly delineated in our experience (the emotions, ideas, times, etc.) we need to get a grasp on them by means of other concepts that we understand in clearer terms (Lakoff, 2003, pg 115).” To better understand this argument let us look at the two world views that are current dominate in the Untied States, that being the conservative worldview and the liberal worldview.

 The accepted conservative worldview of marriage is heavily influenced and interpreted through our conceptual understanding the Christian bible. Beagle explains this foundational briefly by referring to various sources from said bible that has led to the conservatives understanding of the truth:

  • In Matthew 25:1–13, Jesus is the bridegroom and we are virgins who are waiting to attend the wedding.
  • In Jeremiah 2:32, He is the bridegroom and we (the church) are the bride.
  • Ephesians 5:28–30, He [Jesus] refers to the church not only as His bride, but also as His body.

“He apparently took as a given that those of us learning from His marriage parables would understand the different roles for the male and the female in a marriage. In Ephesians 5:22–33, Paul spells out those roles (Beagle, 2002-2010).”

  • The wife is to be subject to the husband in everything (verses 22, 24).
  • The husband is to sacrifice himself for His wife (verse 25).
  • The wife is the body of her husband, and
  • The husband is the head of that body (verses 23, 28).
  • The wife is to respect her husband (verse 33).
  • The husband is to love his wife as himself (verses 25, 28, 33).   

 Beagle takes the discussion farther by interrupting the above verses the mean as follows:

  • The church/bride is subject to her divine Husband (God) in everything.
  • The divine Husband already sacrificed Himself for her.
  • The church/bride is the body of her divine Husband.
  • The divine Husband (alone) is the head of that body.
  • The church/bride is to respect her divine Husband.
  • The divine Husband has already loved her as Himself—enough to die for her!

 Lakoff would offer it is our tendency to build metaphorical concepts and our understanding of those concepts that leads us to believe metaphors as true or false (Lakoff, 2003, pg 179). It is this understanding that establishes the baseline of beliefs for the relationship in the conservative worldview of heterosexual marriage.  The foundation for this belief system is known as The Strict Father Model and explains it as follows: “A family has two parents, a father and a mother. The family requires a strong father to protect it from the many evils in the world and to support it by winning those competitions. Morally, there are absolute rights and wrongs. The strict father is the moral authority in the family; he knows right from wrong. Is inherently moral, and heads the household. The mother supports and upholds the authority of the father but is not strong enough to protect the family or the impose immoral order my herself. She provides affection to the children to show love, reward right conduct, and provide comfort in the face of punishment. Children are born undisciplined. The father teaches them discipline and right from wrong. (Lakoff, 2006, pg 57)” He takes this farther to explain the conservative right leads the country in this same manner by what he calls ‘The Nation as Family’.  It is through this worldview the conservative party has and is still changing state and federal laws to define marriage according to the closely held beliefs held near and dear to them.

 However, all is not lost yet for those bi-national couples. Fred Parrella argues that “while it is not likely that … [Christian] … theology will sanction same sex marriage relationships in the near future, two significant changes have taken place in the last half century in our understanding of marriage.”

 First, the concept of marriage has moved from a legal contract to a personal covenant between two people in the pres-ence of God. Marriage is rooted, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, in ‘the conjugal covenant of irrevocable personal consent.’ Second, the act of procreation within a marriage (until recently seen as a duty so the race may survive) is no longer the only purpose of marriage. In marriage, the partners, as the Council says, also ‘render mutual help and service to each other through an intimate union of their persons and their actions (Parrella, 2004).’

 There is another world view significantly different from the conservative view. The liberal party, or the left, has a more progressive worldview of term marriage. One that is more inclusive of every one. This progressive worldview defines marriage is a social union or legal contract between individuals that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union may also be called matrimony, while the ceremony that marks its beginning is usually called a wedding (Wikipedia, 2010). This broader understanding establishes a baseline intended to give couples of all differences the chance to partake and enjoy the union of marriage with out discrimination.

 The liberal party has a more accepting and inclusive belief system intended to bring out the best in everyone or what Lakoff defines as Nurturant Parents or leader, who are authoritative without being authoritarian. The nurturing leader sets fair and reasonable limits and rules, and takes the trouble to discuss them with the people of the Untied States. Obedience derives from love for the leader and country, not from fear of punishment. Open and respectful communication takes place between political leaders and citizens. Political leaders explain their decisions in order to legitimize their authority. Political leaders accept questioning by citizens as a positive trait but reserve the ultimate decision making for themselves (Lakoff, 2006, pg 52). 

 Currently the liberal party has compromised with conservatives in getting legislation passed in various areas of the United Stated that is intended allow same sex couples to emulated some aspects of the marriage metaphor, some of the benefits, and some of the so called equality. The term popular term currently being used is civil unions. Yet, it is not equal to marriage. There are many other relationship metaphors being used by same sex couples and by those referring to same sex couple, partnered, significant others, or my favorite one used my neighbor “That ‘funny’ couple that lives over there.”

   So, the question that is coming for me is what are these differing arguments conflicting so strongly? And again, Lakoff does a nice job explaining this. There are two primary types of metaphors. There are primary metaphors and complex metaphors. The primary metaphors are those beliefs believed to be universal to everyone because we tend to have the same types of bodies, same types of brains, and we tend to live basically the same types of environments as they relates to metaphors. And, the second type is complex metaphors. The complex metaphors have roots in our primary metaphors but also make use of conceptual frames stemming from our cultural beliefs. It is through these cultural understandings, or worldviews, that we differ some much and through the differences conflict does arise (Lakoff, 2003, pg 257).

 It is through complex metaphors that differing opinions of the conservative and progressive worldviews on marriage that much debate is now occurring on who should have the right to marry. The liberal part want marriage for same sex couples and the conservative party are of the argument stating that marriage is intended to be only between one man and one woman. To this end the conservative government representatives have gone so far as to pass the legal legislation, Defense Of Marriage Act or more commonly known as DOMA. There are two main sections to this law. The first being, No state needs to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state. The second states that the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. This law was passed on September 21, 1996 as Public Law No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419. The bill was passed by Congress by a vote of 342-67 in the House of Representatives and a vote of 85-14 in the Senate, and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996 (Wikipedia, 2010).

 I would like to take a moment to mention historical documents indicates gay marriage has existed in the past. Example: “From 310 to 395 AD it is believed male to male Christian marriage ceremonies were performed which involved the burning of candles, the joining of right hands, the binding of those hands by the priest’s stole, the Lord’s prayer was recited, communion was given and a kiss occurred between the two men. It is believed these ceremonies were performed in the thousands through out the centuries. It was not until the second half of the seventh century that there began a large change in the way Western society became homophobic in a rather short period of time. It is believed this shift was a result of the rise in Puritanism which has it origins in England around the same period of time. (Spencer, 1995, pg. 171).” It is also documented the marriage as we know it now and what is once was has changed. In various parts of the world marriage has and to some extent still is used to combine wealth and position of two families. Where as romantic love was some to could occur out side of the marriage whether it be with male or female companions (Spencer, 1995, pg 36).

 To take this back to the challenge currently being presented to tens of thousands of bi-national couples, due to the defined meaning of one word we are putting thousands of couples through unnecessary hardship. Shirley Tan and Jay Mercado (see appendix F) are a prime example of how the meaning of this one word has had significant impact on their lives. Jay, an American woman, and Shirley, an immigrant from the Philippines have lived together for 24 years. They have a 12 year old twin boys and live very happily in the greater San Francisco area. Because they could not take advantage of the metaphor of marriage they had to come up with creative ways to keep Shirley in the country. As do many immigrants Shirley came here on a tourist visa and did not leave. In 1995 she tried to apply for asylum for two reasons. One she wanted to live with her ‘life partner’ and she feared for her life if she were to go back to the Philippines. She was not aware her asylum case was denied until officers came to her door to arrest her and took her away in hand cuffs. These two ladies are happy together. They have a wonderful family. Yet, because a segment of our government has defined the marriage metaphor as between a man and a woman these two ladies are forced to be ‘domestic partners’ and as such are not permitted to legally marry, which in turn eliminates all the legal problems being experienced by this family.

 There is legislation currently being debated by our governments that if passed would allow Shirley and Jan to remain together. This piece of legislation is The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) (see Appendix C), it does not interfere with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as it uses a different type of language. The UAFA uses the term permanent partner and in so doing creates a new class of citizen. If passed, this would allow US citizens to sponsor their same sex partner but does so in a way that still treats them as second class citizens by institutionalizing discrimination.

 Legislation of this nature is good in so much that over 36,000 couples would be given the right to legally live together in the United States as a ‘partnered’ couple. Some would no longer be in fear of being deported as a result of one person in the couple being in the country illegally, the financial burden would be lifted from those traveling frequently to be together or paying to stay in school to qualify for a student visa, It would allow individuals to visit and rejoin their extended families that they are currently unable to due to travel restrictions, or force individuals to choose between a husband and wife or caring immediate family.

 Until UAFA is passed we will continue to have bi-national couples struggling to stay together. We will continue to have loving couples in exile from their country of origin and their extended families. We will continue to force couples into hiding as a result of illegal immigration. All this is the result of reluctance to allow a metaphor that means so much to such to so many to be defined for a less number of people because of differences in belief systems between the conservative and liberal parties.

 In order to get passed the barriers in these belief systems I would prosing a progression of language changes that is intended to eventually give equality for everyone involved. I think the language being proposed in The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) is right on track with where we need to go, currently. These changes will happen bit by bit. I propose we continue to make changes through the legislative branch of our government and through our judicial branch, federal court system. I do not believe this effort will that be accomplished through any one branch of our government. Nor will it change just because people start saying it. The pressure for change must happen from all 3 angles. We must continue to work with our congressional leaders so that over time when they think of same-sex couple the only term that comes to mind for a man is husband and the only term for a woman is wife. We must continue to work through our judicial branch of government to redefine marriage so as to prevent it from being only a man and a woman.

 In short, I think we need to adopt the language of the oppressor and make it our own. They we continue to use the word family when we refer those who live in all of our homes. We must adopt the term husband and wife. We must continue to use these terms until they not only become second nature to us but are second nature to everyone. When this is accomplished we will have embedded ourselves in to the subconscious of our oppressors in a way that blurs the lines between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples.    

 However, I suspect there are some among the LGBT community that disagree with me. Given that fact a portion of the community has a resistance to any such activity requiring conformance. And, worse yet, I too may well have some trouble using this language because it does not flow effortlessly from my own mouth.

 However, we have got to start somewhere, so why not start with us and why not start now.   

 Works Cited / Bibliography

Beagles, Kathy (2002-2010). Mixing Marriage Metaphors. http://cqbiblestudy.org/article.php?id=79

Dictionary.com (2010). Definition of marriage. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/marriage

Human Rights Campaign (2010). International Rights and Immigration. Immigration. Retrieved from http://www.hrc.org/issues/int_rights_immigration.asp

 Lakoff, George (2003). Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision. Union Square West, New York.

 Lakoff, Geoge (2006). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, Illinois.

 Perrella, Fred (2004). Gay Marriage: Theological and Moral Arguments. http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/ethicalperspectives/gay_marriage.html

 Wikipedia (2010). Definition of Marriage. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage 

 Wikipedia, (2010). The Defense of Marriage Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOMA

Appendix A

 111TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION House of Representatives 1024

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.

Complete text of amendment: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1024ih.txt.pdf

 Appendix B

 111TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION Senate 424

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.

Complete text of amendment: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:s424is.txt.pdf

 Appendix C

 The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA)

 UAFA Keeps Families Together – The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) offers remedies the current injustice in our nation’s immigration laws and allows U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration. No one should have to choose between their country and their family.

 More information is located as: http://www.hrc.org/issues/int_rights_immigration/13114.htm

 Appendix D

 J.W. Lown is the former mayor of San Angelo, Texas. Earlier this year he was forced to choose between his home and the community that had just re-elected him as mayor, and his partner. He now lives in exile in Mexico because his relationship with his same-sex partner is not recognized under US immigration law. US family reunification law does not yet include gay and lesbian families – something groups such as Immigration Equality are working hard to change via the comprehensive immigration reform bill expected in 2010.

 This article is located at: http://loveexiles.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/to-a-mayor-from-a-mayor-in-exile/

 Appendix E

 Jennifer (U.S.) & Ellen (Taiwan)

 This story is located at: http://www.out4immigration.org/immigration/page.html?=&cid=1196

 Appendix F

 Lesbian couple inspires US immigration reform

 Various Articles related on the journey of Shirley Tan (Philippines) and Jay Mercado (Philippines) as they face deportation from US.

 This story is located at: https://lgbtculture.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/shirley-tan-and-jay-mercado/

Side Note: I am still working this story and updates will occur as needed.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

LGBT Immigration Stories

Posted on November 1, 2009. Filed under: Purpose | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Area of Interest: 

Story telling as an educational tool is a wonderful thing. So what we are proposing is to putting out requests that give the identified population a chance to share their stories and putting them together to create a collective wisdom. Our reason for approaching the subject in this manner is to give a nurturing space for creating community and access to information that will support others during a time that could potentially by one of the most stressful and difficult transitions in their lives. If you or someone you know has an interest and are willing to share your/their story please post it here or email us. Also, feel free to share this information with other organizations or individuals that may be interested.

 Would you like to share your story?

Do you have a story to tell about your experience as a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) immigrant? Are you interested in sharing it with people learning about LGBT immigration? If so, this is your chance to participate in a collective wisdom study. I am a graduate student of Antioch University Seattle and am in the process of compiling stories of LGBT immigrants. I am seeking to provide a unique opportunity for LGBT immigrants a chance to share their stories and experiences that statistics do not provide. For instance, stories that describe the adjustments / challenges experienced as you leave or integrate into another culture. What changes did you expereince/make? How did you balance the needs of your family and culture of origin with the needs of the new culture? As you made the adjustments, what worked well for you and what would you do differently? Other story possibilities may include the relationship you have with you family/spouse/siblings/children/parents? It’s your story, tell it your way. This is an opportunity for you to share your experience with others, some of whom may be in their own journey.

 

Guidelines for Submission:

(Please note that these stories are not intended to provide an opportunity for individuals or groups to insult or offend others. We ask that authors respect the privacy of individuals who may be mentioned in the stories they submit by using fictional (fake) names. We also ask that authors be respectful of others in their expression of opinions. Submitted stories will be screened based on these and other criteria. Stories submitted that seem rude, offensive, or generally distasteful
will not be accepted.) The following is a suggestion but you may omit as much information as you like.

* The author or group of authors will have immigrated from one country to another or from one region to another. 

* References to other resources should be included at the end of the story in a bibliography

* Person or persons submitting story must be the author

* More than one short story can be submitted

* It is preferred that stories be submitted in American English and am willing to accept submissions in any language

* Please verify that your contact information is accurate in your submission

* If desired I am willing to conduct or accept an audio or video interview instead of a written story.  

 

Contact Information:

Join us on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=114347011795&ref=mf

Feel free to email us at: lgbtculture [at] yahoo [dot] com

Also, You can follow us remotely or on your phone with twitter: http://twitter.com/lgbtculture
As new stories and postings are added to our blog twitter will let you know.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    About

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Immigration Stories – A Collective Wisdom

    RSS

    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET News.com
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS

    Meta

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...