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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Binational couples

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Author Topic: Binational couples
Cian
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My girlfriend-to-be-fiancee lives in the US, which at the current time is not recognizing same-sex marriage or registered partnerships in immigration, thus making immigration of same-sex non-national partners anything between very hard and impossible. My best bet is trying to squeeze my way into a US company that'll sponsor my work visa for an extended stay in the states. However, only up to six years.

Right now I'm just feeling so burdened by all this, as scoring a job in the US to possibly obtain a temporary visa doesn't have a very high chance of happening. I'm not planning on migrating until after finishing my Master's degree in university as a translator which I'm hoping will improve my chances of finding employment.

Are there other binational lgbt-couples here who are struggling with similar problems?
Is there anything I can do from where I'm at (Finland) in order to support changing the immigration laws for lgbt-partners?

Bottomline is I feel very wronged here as I have committed no ill, I just want to live with my life partner just like any other binational couple. Even if got married our relationship would not be recognized in immigration. If I manage to make my way there on a work visa our relationship would still be considered null.

[ 09-12-2011, 10:26 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather
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I think you might be doing a little putting the horse before the cart here.

In other words, as I understand it, you two have still only even spent limited time toegther in the same space. You're probably quite a ways from a marriage, yes? You're also not planning on emigrating for some time, right?

These laws and policies have been changing at a pretty quick pace. I think worrying about something years from now based on where we're at today is likely a poor investment of your energy, because it may not even be an issue then.

That said, it's perhaps also worth mentioning that people manage to immigrate who aren't married to anyone at all, and quite a lot of us who aren't married, whatever our orientation, but are in relationships manage to deal with our partnerships not being recognized legally.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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I suppose you could be correct, since we've only spent about 4 months in person with each other but at the same time I think this is what we want to do. We both do discuss marriage/future together and emigrating one way or another and understand these things aren't going to happen a good few more years. Soonest I will be able to do is two years, more realistically three.

But I suppose you're right. I'm just the kind of a person who has to have a very clear plan preferably spanning years, otherwise the uncertainty makes me nervous and largely unhappy. Also seeing as the immigration bill hasn't made progress in 11 years is slightly discouraging.

Also on a more general level completely disregarding myself I would just like for same-sex partners to have the same status as non-same-sex partners as per spousal immigration.

[ 09-11-2011, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: Cian ]

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Heather
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Hey, you don't need to sell me on that. I'll go you one more; I want everyone to have the same rights whether they're married or not. Flatly, I'd really prefer it if there was no difference in legal rights for anyone based on their relationship status and if relationship status and any marital agreements had zip to do with the law and with giving people privileges.

(You also don't need to tell me how much our immigration laws in the US suck, period. I can rant on this for days if not stopped.)

I hear you on needing concrete plans, but at the same time, not only is the law not concrete, relationships and what happens with them REALLY isn't.

So, how about focusing more on where the two of you are at right now, in your head and in your interactions, rather than trying to take such giant leaps so far ahead of where you really are, and where the world might be?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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I suppose. I'm just not very good at going worry free knowing (or assuming) that there are difficult times ahead that I could prepare for if I knew how.
I was considering proposing to her this winter but I guess I should hold that off.

And that's a noble idea. Equal rights for all that are genuinely equal and genuinely to everyone. I like that.

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Heather
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I'd suggest you consider this: really being in the present actually DOES prepare us for the future, in part because we'll know how to be in and deal with the present then. I know that can sound really esoteric, but when you think about it, it's actually pretty elementary. [Smile]

Plus, really being in the present when we're in it gives us things to really build a future on. If our future is just kind of built on escalating futures, then there's actually not a whole lot going on in the present if and when those futures happen to even fully experience and enjoy. Always focusing on future plans can also be a way of trying to manage or avoid anxiety about the present. The big trouble with doing that is that you not only then don't learn to deal with the present, you don't get to enjoy it as much when it's good.

[ 09-11-2011, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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Makes sense. However I like to go into battle prepared for it, if you get what I mean? I'd rather not plunge into immigration when the time comes with no previous knowledge of the process.

But I get what you mean. I guess this conversation could still be left open in case Scarleteen gets other binational couples (I guess it could and should be wider than just GLBT so this could be moved to Support Groups?) or people partnered with foreigners who'd like to talk about it.

I mean I'm in a pretty lucky situation in terms that I am enjoying my family's and friends' support regarding my relationship, which is not always something that people who are living in different countries get to have.

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Heather
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How about I move it to relationships?

And I hear you on doing some preparation, it's just that there's often only so much we can do with things that are either very far in advance, or may not even be issues if and when we get there.

For example, I signed a 2-year-lease where I live now. Come June, I may or may not have the option of living here again. Do I start packing now just in case? I can't start looking for potential other places now, because nothing will be for rent for then already. As well, I love where I live: if I focus too much on maybe having to move, I'll miss out on a lot of enjoying being here now.

So, you work out the balance. Do you think you will want to move to the states in the next couple years? If so, then maybe you start looking into what you could do about that process now, regardless of whether or not you're with your partner or have a given status with your partner. But if it's further away than that? Just seems to me all this prep might for for naught for a whole lot of reasons, including likely legal changes, given the arc of things. Why invest a ton of time and energy that will have served no real purpose and which you may have to just do all over again?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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By all means. Can I change the title of the topic to include all binational couples?

Thanks Heather, I understand. I have a tendency to get this inquisitive need where I need to find out everything about a certain matter before I can give it some rest. I'm still unhappy about the current state of affairs per immigration to the US as simply stating I have a spouse I wish to unite with is a lot easier than hunting for a company that'll want to hire me. All in the distant near future.

No worries, it's not like I'm filling out papers or anything. I just want some general knowledge as to where to begin when the time comes, if it does. [Smile]

Do you know if there are venues for foreigners to support the Unite American Families bill (if that's what it called again, which would enable same-sex partners to be recognized) for the sake of binational lgbt-couples?
In my home country the immigration policies do recognize same-sex partnerships in par with married couples.

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Heather
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I'll take care of the move and the title change, and I'll look into what opportunities for activism around this there might be for you via Finland.

Of the top of my head, I'd say you'd want to contact Amnesty International (always worth our volunteer time, I'd say: I spent hours writing letters for them in high school and have remained an ardent supporter since), the HRC or the Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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Thanks Heather!
And many thanks for the links provided. I'll also probably make it a point of discussion next time I go to a local LGBT meeting. [Smile]

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Heather
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It's so weird, our relatively-newly awful immigration policies, I have to tel you. It was so easy -- not financially, but practically, in terms of getting in -- as I understand it for both sides of my family.

If it hadn't been, one side might have died in concentration camps, the other of starvation. Always harrowing to think about, especially knowing that for plenty of families and individuals now, that's how it is. [Frown]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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It is something I have also discussed in a lash of frustration, how before I'd paid some officials, they'd do my paperwork, put me on a boat and lo-and-behold I'd be shipped off to America to try my luck at a better life. Nowadays it's not quite so simple. I understand that after 9/11 the borders closed up even more than before making it twice as hard. I have to jump hoops just so visit despite being from a visa waiver approved country and bless the border control, do they give me trouble or what.

At the same time though, I feel like my immigration is less justified. I have a decent chance at a decent quality of life here. On the flipside of the same coin I don't get to live with my girlfriend unless she migrates.

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