Today, just like me, you may have:
A busy life. Deadlines. Pressures. And not the life that you dreamed of having when you got to be all grown up. While you are in control now – but not everything is in your control.
Your ability to be together with your partner, spouse, wife or husband - who is either half-a-world away or on a limited-stay in the United States - or both of you living in limbo, exile, or out of suitcases of uncertainty.
This is the reality for many same-sex binational couples - where one partner is an American citizen and the other is not.
Meanwhile our heterosexual counterparts - so-called "opposite-sex binational couples" - may live a life of peaceful bliss, or at least do not face these same challenges. Their "challenges" of the lawn getting mowed, the morning paper being late or their breakfast cereal being soggy are quaint in comparison to just the ability of us to be able to sponsor and be with the one that we love on a permanent basis to build that nest together called home. Our counterparts are not wrong, they are just unaware - and we are that key to awareness.
There are two main things that for me have been important to achieve in life - a successful career and a loving partner in a long-term, committed relationship and marriage.
Many of you like myself have already struggled, persevered and eventually embarked upon a successful career. That struggle is over, and yet there are still some things worth fighting for:
The one that I love.For those in the military, certainly DADT may be a bigger battle to fight. For many of us that reside in states that lack statewide anti-discrimination in employment, certainly passing ENDA may be a bigger battle to try to pass.
The one that you love.
Our partners - Our wives - Our husbands
But for most of us, just the ability to have some permanence in our lives with the one that we love, for me that is most important.
So what? Will I even make a difference?
The lack of five-hundred and thirty-eight Floridian votes in November 2000 forever changed our lives and political landscape for the last eight years.
Too busy? In some cases, for those who are really struggling in other areas of their lives or facing life events above and beyond being reunited with their partner forever - then this is understandable.
However if you want to get something done, then ask a busy person to do it. I could write you a dissertation on that concept.
So then how can I make a difference? What can I do?
Here are some of the things that you can do to make a difference:
1) Write a letter to your Senator or Representative urging Congress to find the political will to get Comprehensive Immigration Reform passed inclusive of permanent partners and our ability to sponsor the one that we love.Maybe you have done some or even all of these things. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep trying. I know, I do the same. I dream and I cry – but I always still hope and hoping and trying is something that no one can ever take away.
2) Call and/or email your Senator or Representative and request the same.
3) Take part in Out4Immigration's weekly online letter writing to Congress on Change.org. It's easy and takes less than 1 minute to contact 5 members of the House and/or Senate.
4) Reach out and join local pro-immigration organizations that are behind CIR - and work with their leadership behind the scenes to ensure that LGBT people are included in their efforts too.
5) Reach out into the LGBT community itself - it is amazing the number of our own gay and lesbian counterparts who are not in binational relationships that are oblivious to our predicament - as well as many LGBT persons who are conservative and actually side with others against immigration. Many are reachable, it just takes effort and dialog to reach out and generate this awareness.
6) Build coalitions and alliances with other pocket populations affected by the current broken Immigration Policy. Asians, Latinos, Middle Easterners, Africans and Europeans are all affected by an unfair immigration policy. For LGBT Asians, there are over 50 Asians & Friends and Long Yang Club chapters around the United States (I am President of the Denver, Colorado chapter).
For LGBT Latinos, there is LOCOS and ENLACE; for LGBT Middle Easterns there is Al-Fatiha as well as many Yahoo meet-up groups. Get involved. If nothing else, friendship is a cure for loneliness while you patiently wait for the one that you love.
7) Pay a visit to your local City Council and make inroads with known supporters in your community and in state and local government to pass a Resolution in favor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). Contact Tom via Comprehensive = Inclusive Immigration Reform (CIIR) or email@example.com to learn more.
8) Reach out at your local PrideFest. You are going to PrideFest anyway, right? Work with Out4Immigration to get literature printed and distribute at your local PrideFest (contact Amos at firstname.lastname@example.org). You will need to work with a vendor/exhibitor that will allow you to distribute O4I brochures at their booth in exchange for working with them to staff their booth for a while. This gives you a home base, shade, and a chance to enjoy the festivities and make friends. These very friends might be your support system when or while your partner is away and you need someone to talk to and understand what you are going through in your life.
9) Offer support amongst us all. Many of us are grieving the loss of our recently departed loved one back to their country of origin or are feeling very alone right now. Be that support system. Instant Karma - John Lennon will be proud of you. Imagine...
10) Be in-the-know. Follow the issues with immigration as they happen and disseminate factual information. There is a plethora of information and analysis on the internet and media. Keep us all in the loop with what you know. Be the expert.
No one expects anyone to do all of the above. But doing some of the above, or even just one of the above, is what makes the collective difference for us to be effective.
Change your life and your weekly routine and see if some of this fits in to what you can do.
Think Globally, Act Locally.
You will make a difference. That positive difference from the efforts of today may be for your own life and the love that you will have for the rest of your life.
Once upon a time, I just watched something happen of injustice, and like a child lost in the wilderness I cried and exclaimed, “Why doesn’t somebody do something!” Then in my grief and profound despair from somewhere, from where I do not know, I heard this voice from far away that gently whispered in my ear,
"YOU are that somebody...".