Sunday, April 17, 2011

What is life like when you are in a same-sex binational relationship...just one story of many

by Cozie Way

Most people probably haven’t thought about what it is like for those in same-sex binational relationship. Most people probably don’t think about immigration laws when it comes to same-sex relationships either. I know I hadn’t until I was in a same-sex binational relationship.

When I started my relationship with my partner I had no idea of the difficulties we would face in order to have our lives together. Looking back at the past four years together I am amazed at what we have accomplished in order to establish and maintain a dedicated relationship but it is the day to day life together that we both aspire for.

A life together is all we have ever wanted and America has not made that easy for us at all. Now I know all relationships have challenges, but imagine for a moment when your country goes beyond just voicing its outrage over the fact that you are in a same sex relationship, but where it goes even further to deny you the right to be together in the same country.

American law denies me the right to sponsor her for immigration purposes and since she has no blood relative to sponsor her and work visas are extremely difficult to obtain we are forced to live apart. We are forced to live thousands of miles away from each other separated for great lengths of time by a continent and the Atlantic Ocean. We are forced to have our lives on hold. As an American citizen I am denied my pursuit of happiness all because of who I love.

So what is it like to be in this type of relationship...well I can only speak for myself as it is probably different for each couple. For me I am filled with every extreme emotion possible. When we do get a chance to be together it is the best of times but when she has to return back to her country life alters into becoming the worst of times. When we are reunited it is difficult to keep focus on the moment as both of us know that time is limited and one cannot refrain from being conscience of time as the minutes and days fly by and we will have to once again say our goodbyes. Once those goodbyes are said and done, life does go on but the emptiness is overwhelming. I often wonder why others at the airport are not crying. Aren’t they saying goodbye to someone. They probably are but to someone who can easily return back.

The emptiness is filled with immense sadness and anger. The sadness and anger increases when I realize that the hardship and emotional strain placed on me by my government could easily be solved. Since DOMA is still in effect, marrying my partner would not change our situation but if Congress passed the Uniting American Families Act, the language in US immigration law would be changed to include same sex partners granting us the right to sponsor our foreign born partner. By the addition to US immigration law of a few little words I could be with my partner right now instead of being thousands of miles apart.

As I mentioned earlier life goes on but this is where I ask the reader to take a moment and step into my shoes. Imagine missing out on the everyday events that you enjoy with the one you love. Imagine a sunny day where you would just like to take a walk in the park with them or a Friday night where you would like to go see the latest blockbuster movie. These simple things might not seem like much and are probably things a great many people take for granted. When you only get to see your partner, if you’re lucky, a few weeks out of the year, these simple events mean everything. And what about the bad times we all go through? I had two major surgeries over the past few months and not having her here with me added so much difficulties in my recovery that there were times I just didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.

If I could paint a picture of how I feel even as I write this it would be a canvass of nothing but black paint representing a dark void overflowing with chaos because that is what life is right now. I look around my house and I know she is not here but I see so many things that remind me of the great times we have spent together but at the end of the day I am here alone and only because my government has discriminated against my relationship. So what does one do? Do you leave your country that you have lived in your whole life, the country that proudly boasts about being the land of the free? How do you overcome the feeling that your country has turned its back on you? How do you face another day without the one person who brings you the kind of happiness you always imagined existed and waited your whole life to find? Do you cry or do you scream out or perhaps both?

These are all questions I have had to ask myself since my government has turned its back on me. I hope that one day I will be able to live in America with my partner and that my country is one where equality is no longer just an aspiration but a reality but until then we remain apart and my days and nights continue to be filled with grief.

Note: Cozie Way is not her real name, but her story was so compelling, we needed to reprint it [it was originally on a private blog]. Out4Immigration urges you to tell your story. If you would like to be make your story available to the media, please complete the form at this link.


Megan said...

My story is very similar to the author's; I should not have to choose between my country and my partner! Don't we pledge "...with liberty and justice for ALL?" Just because my partner is the same gender as I means that I am no longer part of that ALL? The passing of UAFA will help us ALL be first-world citizens again!

Sandra said...

Hey Cozie,

Reading your story was like reading my own. We're living exactly the same life, since 4 years now.
Please know you're not alone in this horrible situation. My heart goes out to you!

Love, Sandra

Tofu said...

Being in a loving relationship with one you can not sponsor is very hard.
You fear with them. You live in hiding with them. Not knowing if they will be with you when you get home. Getting back from the store.
And try this feeling for seven years. :(

(a disabled Vet)

Jen said...

Thank you for writing this. I just wrote my story for a lesbian publication and yours would've been better! keep up the good fight, my fiancee is in canada and it is very difficult.