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  • « Barney back Baldwin on trans-inclusion | Main | Big tents go both ways… »

    October 21, 2007

    Next stop, Buenos Aires

    Posted by: Chris

    300pxargentinabanderap2080016 Score another win for immigration law over your's truly and my partner. After spending part of 2006 and most of 2007 so far in Rio and then São Paulo, Brazil, we've been evicted yet again and this time my partner will be forced to go ex-pat for us to stay together.

    That's because this time the problem isn't the immigration laws of the United States, though they still prohibit me from sponsoring my partner for residence back home.  The problem this time is Brazilian immigration law.  You see my tourist visa is about to expire for this year and after much wringing of hands with fellow ex-pats, Brazilian friends and some knowledgeable lawyers, we have decided not to risk my overstaying.

    That decision came several weeks ago, and was followed by a somewhat scattered search for options, which eventually narrowed down to two: Buenos Aires or Cape Town, South Africa. The choices are not as crazy as they sound.

    Like many of my fellow gay Americans in binational relationships, I am applying along with my partner to become "landed immigrants" in Canada, which will recognize our relationship even in the visa application. But since we're not married, we have to prove one year of cohabitation. That's doable, since we have lived together since September 2006, when I left Washington and moved to Rio. But it's complicated, involved and carries a somewhat greater risk of rejection.

    Aside from our immigration issue, we would love to marry after almost three years together, but (as I've explained before) only five countries in the world marry gay couples: Holland, Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa. The three European countries all limit marriage to residents, and while Canada does not, getting a Canadian tourist visa for my partner is almost as difficult as getting one to visit the U.S.  That leaves South Africa, which marries non-residents and (like all of Europe including the U.K.) accepts Brazilian tourists without a special visa.

    We received some wonderful assistance from a network of gay friends in Cape Town, even though they weren't even our friends -- they were on loan from a very dear friend back in Washington.  But when we added up the expense of getting there and living there, we decided to stay closer to "home" in Buenos Aires.

    200410buenosairesobelisconocturno Buenos Aires is hardly a back-up option, even if we can't marry there. I spent a day there at the end of my first trip to South America in February 2005.  (It was supposed to be a week, but I met Anderson and extended my stay in Rio every day until I had only one left.)  It is a beautiful city, very European, gorgeous architecture, friendly people, clean, safe and one of the few places the dollar still has any value. (It's dropped below 1.80 Brazilian reais for the first time since 2000; it was almost R$3 per dollar my first trip here.)

    Several kind folk, including fellow bloggers Kevin (Club Whirled) and Rex Wockner have also leant me their friend network, as have several of our Brazilian friends. I'm sure they will help us acclimate and get to know our new home, if only for three months.  In January, we can return again to Brazil.

    I will leave Brazil, even temporarily, with a heavy heart.  I love this country, even with all of its problems, and I especially love its people.  And having finally semi-mastered Portuguese, it's back to the Spanish drawing board for me.  Hopefully the three-year assault by Portuguese hasn't undone all the Spanish I learned back in school.

    I am writing about this move with optimism because it is the way that Anderson and I are approaching it.  Our lives remain in a semi-constant state of upheaval, and yet another move will be a jolt to the system.  But like many "love exiles," we are practically old pros at this now.

    I also remain hopeful that someday in the not-so-distant future, the U.S. government will join 20 other countries in allowing gay Americans the same right that straight Americans have to sponsor a partner for residence -- just as our government already allows non-Americans to do when the come to work temporarily in the U.S.

    Whether change comes through passage of the Uniting American Families Act or through repealing the half of the Defense of Marriage Act that blocks the federal government from recognizing gay marriages, it can't come soon enough for us and so many others.

    For a complete news summary on gay immigration issues, click or bookmark: gaynewswatch.com/immigration

    For a complete news summary on gay Latino issues, click or bookmark: gaynewswatch.com/latino

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    Comments

    1. Sean on Oct 22, 2007 5:21:28 AM:

      I wish you and your boyfriend the best.

    1. Bloggernista on Oct 22, 2007 6:49:39 AM:

      Its insane that you and your partner have to relocate again simply to stay together. This is yet another reason why marriage rights is so important and why the left leaning gays who say that marriage is a hetero construct that gays should not seek, are just wrong.

    1. Andoni on Oct 22, 2007 8:04:15 AM:

      Good luck to you and Anderson. As you know, I'm in a similar boat, just a couple of years behind you in decision making.

      When you say, "But it's complicated, involved and carries a somewhat greater risk of rejection," referring to applying for landed immigrant status as co-habitating partners, I am wondering why you didn't choose one of the following:

      1. Do a quick trip to Capetown to get married, that way your co-habitation status is no longer a weak link......you have a government certificate of your "togetherness" that should be recognized by Canada.

      2. For you to apply solo for Canadian landed immigrant status, then quickly pull Anderson in on a fiance visa (or a quick marriage in Capetown)?

      Your maneuvering sounds like my maneuvering, only mine involves different countries.

      Safe travels "y via con Dios."

    1. Kevin on Oct 22, 2007 8:35:32 AM:

      See you soon, both before and after you leave :) I'm excited for you cuz BA really is a fun place to live, as I guess I'm also a bit resigned to "making the best of this mess" we both have to go through with this issue. It doesn't mean we don't want to fight for overdue changes back home in the U.S., but I must confess that you, dear Chris, have much more moxie and stamina for that fight than I do right now. I'd admire you for it.

    1. Double T on Oct 22, 2007 2:14:23 PM:

      BEST WISHES!!!!

      I hear great things about B.A.

    1. J & K on Oct 22, 2007 3:02:20 PM:

      Hi

      We want to wish you and your partner best of luck.

      We're a bi-national couple here who moved from Washington D.C. to Toronto couple of months ago.

      Good luck with your Canadian Immigration application.

      J & K

    1. Jack Jett on Oct 22, 2007 4:25:56 PM:

      Chris

      Reading between the lines of your struggle, I see what is a really amazing love story.

      I hope you are taking time to write about this aspect of your journey.

      Jack Jett

    1. Citizen Crain on Oct 22, 2007 11:38:07 PM:

      Thanks so much for all the notes of encouragement, and the ones I received by email as well. Anderson and I both very much appreciate them.

      Several of the emails noted that Brazil is one of about 20 countries that recognizes gay relationships for immigration purposes. That is correct. And if we had decided to live indefinitely here, then we would pay the $3,000 or so in legal fees for me to get a residence visa here.

      But our goal has been to live together in the U.S., where there is far more opportunity for both of us. So Canada is a better route, and it will reunite me with my dogs and worldly belongings (such as they are) sooner.

      Andoni, you are a consigliere's consigliere, but I'm afraid a quick trip to Cape Town to marry is outside our means (despite the comments of my detractors to the contrary). And I'm not sure I mentioned it, but our Canadian attorney has a fixed price for representing us through the process, so an easier application from a married couple is no cheaper than a more involved application by "conjugal partners" (not a big fan of that term)!

    1. Matt Sanchez on Oct 23, 2007 1:02:44 AM:

      What is it with emotionless sexually frustrated gay white men going to Brazil and "falling in love"?

      Are threesomes that much easier down there where being able to pick up the tab for dinner will get you more than a thank you?

    1. Citizen Crain on Oct 23, 2007 2:01:36 AM:

      Thanks for the surprise comment, Matt. Though I'm not sure why you think I am (or was) emotionless. I sure know plenty of friends (and an ex of 8 years) who would disagree with that description.

      As for my partner, we've never done a threesome, so I can't really answer your question. Funny you would think our relationship is all about sex. The only other person who's said that to me was an incredibly unhappy and grossly overweight gay man. I hope none of that description applies to you -- including the gay part, considering the path you've chosen.

      The truth is, I didn't need to leave my entire life behind for good sex. Just because you screwed men and (allegedly) didn't feel any emotion, doesn't mean that's true for the rest of us.

    1. Jack Jett on Oct 23, 2007 12:51:04 PM:

      Hey Matt

      Did you whack off thinking about the threesome?

      Who did you imagine it with? You?

      In your dream, did you have a cock in your mouth?

      Jack Jett

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Oct 23, 2007 1:04:53 PM:

      My suggestion, Chris, would be that you check the IP address on that comment allegedly from Matt Sanchez.

    1. Kevin on Oct 23, 2007 1:17:38 PM:

      Yeah, that sounds more like one of the still-anonymous cowardly trolls (or is it maybe just one?) who frequently turn up in your comments section. You know, say what you want about gay life abroad, but U.S. gays are some of the most vicious, mentally unstable gays on Earth.

    1. Citizen Crain on Oct 23, 2007 6:25:37 PM:

      Actually, he's the real deal Matt Sanchez. He emailed along with the snarky comment, alleging something about me being a humanist. Then Joe.My.God let me know that Matt is making the rounds of gay blogs, always posting comments dripping with sexual innuendo.

      Considering he's off in Iraq or somewhere similar, my guess is he's just lonely for his homeboys.

      P.S. Jack Jett: I love you but there's no reason to get poddy-mouthed in comments, even when responding to a porn star-turned-hetero-Christianist.

    1. Double T on Oct 23, 2007 6:35:44 PM:

      Chris, I feel bad for you. The comments started as so warm and friendly, then POW, you got hit right between the eyes. I can understand(sort of) in a "heated" debate the ugly comments

      Really MATT(or whoever), was that necessary?

      Chris, keep thinking happy thoughts and don't get pulled down.

      I think I speak for all the normal, sane people when I say "Best Wishes".

    1. Rebecca Juro on Oct 23, 2007 6:46:37 PM:

      Chris,

      I do feel for you in this. It's a total injustice, compounded on both ends...I mean that. No one should have to jump through the kind of hoops you and Anderson are being forced through just to stay with each other.

      That said, however, I'd also point out to you that being denied equal rights and treatment under the law just because of who you are is equally unjust to whoever it happens to, be it in immigration...or in employment.

      I suspect that despite what's gone back and forth, a lot of other transfolks would also sympathize with you as well. After all, we too know what it's like to be singled out from everyone else and have our right to live our lives free of unfair discrimination under attack from uncaring politicians as well. It hurts us just as much.

      Best hopes.

    1. Dave on Oct 23, 2007 6:56:20 PM:

      I have no sympathy for you Chris or your "husband". You had none for transgendered folks, so why should I give a frack about your rich, white ass? You probaly would not even have that hot Latin if you were not well off.

    1. Jack Jett on Oct 23, 2007 7:18:26 PM:

      Chris

      I am sorry. I can't help it. I am a sinner.
      Worse, I am an atheist.

      Jack Jett

    1. Joseph Kowalski on Oct 23, 2007 7:31:23 PM:

      Ignore those who cannot understand what bi-national gay people who love each other must go through in order to stay together.

      I faced a similar situation almost 10 years ago which resulted in a long separation and eventual end to the relationship. But much has changed since then.

      Best of luck to you and your partner, Chris. I admire your drive and determination to succeed.

    1. Double T on Oct 23, 2007 7:51:51 PM:

      Chris,
      When reading your comments, I thought of something I saw in Florida.
      Children/Grandchildren of Cuban exiles were being interviewed. They all said a similar thing.” If my Father knew he wouldn't return to Cuban, he would have never left”.

      I’m not try to bring you down or be an ass.

      But, how long are you prepared to do the “exile” thing?

      Have you thought about bringing the fight home?

    1. Maureen on Oct 23, 2007 9:00:31 PM:

      Chris, I'm sorry that you feel the need to move again. God bless you both and make your journey smooth and safe. I really do think that things will change here in the next few years and you will be able to come home. Take care.

    1. Maureen on Oct 23, 2007 9:23:26 PM:

      To Matt Sanchez (if it truly is Matt):

      I had to write and re-write this comment three times before posting. At first, it was full of shouting and anger, and a bit of cursing, but then I thought "is that how Christ would want me to address another Christian?"

      And the answer is "No. Not anymore than He would have wanted Matt to write that nasty note."

      If you are truly a Christian, Matt, you may want to hit your knees, ask for better guidance, buy a vowel, and get a clue. Because I doubt that Christ has a reward in His Father's house for that type of behavior. And your words here change no one's heart. They only serve to divide us more.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Oct 24, 2007 3:10:08 AM:

      "Considering he's off in Iraq or somewhere similar, my guess is he's just lonely for his homeboys."

      Then in that case, Chris, the IP address of his posts would be extremely distinctive.

      As would the exact address from where the email is coming.

    1. Steve Scott on Nov 12, 2007 9:50:30 PM:

      Chris,
      Here's wishing you and Anderson health and happiness in your upcoming adventures.

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