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  • « ENDA back from the dead | Main | Welcome back to the movement, HRC »

    November 05, 2007

    Dreaming of being disrespected

    Posted by: Chris

    United_states_passport There's an interesting thread over at Andrew Sullivan's blog about the disrespectful treatment that gay couples, even American gay couples, receive from passport control officers when arriving in the U.S.  First to weigh in was conservative gay author Bruce Bawer, who lives in Norway with his partner:

    Every time that my partner and I fly to the US and I have to fill out a customs declaration form, it galls me to have to write "0" under "Number of family members traveling with you" given that my partner is, in fact, under the law of Norway, not only my family but my next of kin.  So on one recent trip, I wrote "1."  At passport control in Newark, the woman asked me where the other member of my family was.  I explained that he was a Norwegian citizen and had therefore gotten in line with other non-US citizens.  She asked what our relationship was.  I explained that we were domestic partners.  She spat out, in a vicious tone: "THAT'S NOT FAMILY!"  I replied, in a civil tone, "It is in Norway."  She said nastily, "Well, it's not here," and, grabbing a pen, changed my "1" to a "0."  Not wanting to jeopardize my partner's chances of getting into the country, I chose not to argue with her.

    Then Dan Savage chimed in:

    I feel for Bruce Bawer ...but try coming back into the US from Europe with your partner and your adopted child. DJ is, as you know, a quick kid. He spends a lot of time around adults, he's not oblivious, he can read adults. And we go to Canada and/or Europe at least twice a year. I can't tell you the number of times we've had passport and/or customs officials literally and audibly scoff when we tell them DJ is our son -- you know, that "uusssggghhhh" sound people make when they're told something they don't believe or are offended by, a cross between groaning and clearing your throat.

    Savage and his partner reacted by teaching their young son that, "These people work for George W. Bush, and that George W. Bush doesn't approve of gay families, and he hires assholes that feel the same way." 

    I don't see the point in teaching their child the double-evil that some people hate his parents, and the implicit lesson that he should hate them back, but c'est la vie.  Andrew points out that disdain for gay couples and those with HIV is U.S. immigration policy of long-standing; it's disrespect written into law.

    Without taking anything away from any of the above, I would add that for a whole slew of "love exiles" like my partner and me, it is but a distant dream to be treated with disdain and disrespect by U.S. passport control. Checking "0" on "Number of family members"? Sign me up, so long as he isn't turned away.

    I can't tell you how many times I've even played out the fantasy in my mind, imagining my partner and me boarding a flight to the U.S. — together. We actually find ourselves smiling longingly anytime we're at an airport and see an American or Delta or United Airlines plane.

    Now three countries (Argentina -> Brazil -> Canada) removed from ever being together in the U.S., I would add that passage of the Uniting American Families Act, along with repeal of the HIV ban, are the first steps toward a gay-friendly U.S. border.

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    Comments

    1. Andoni on Nov 6, 2007 9:01:07 AM:

      A question for those who are attorneys .... or Constitutional scholars. Can the president (say Barack or Dennis or Hillary) order the immigration officers to start treating gay couples as 1.)human and 2.)permit them to present as a family (scribing 1 instead of 0 on the form) by a presidential order, or does it require an act of Congress? I would assume that a change in attitude (1) could be done by presidential order, but am not sure about (2).

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 12:26:08 PM:

      Chris

      #1....Do you really have any place suggesting how Dan Savage raises his son in the United States of America?

      #2....Why are you running away from this problem and not staying here in the USA to fight it?

      Jack Jett

    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 1:08:31 PM:

      Jack or whoever you are:

      Re: #1 - you totally misread Chris' comments - he did nothing of the kind.

      Re: #2 - frankly, such a incredible stupid comment deserves this response: Go fuck yourself. How dare you characterize Chris' painful choice as "running" when he in fact had only two choices -- leave the country, or end his relationship. And rather than please shitbags like you, he chose correctly.

    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 1:14:21 PM:

      Andoni:

      Just from a lot of years as a Hill activist and zero legal education, I would hazard a guess that the Defense of Marriage Act is pretty much a closed door in many respects. Maybe a very carefully crafted regulatory move could make things less onerous, but anything that in any way hints at giving non-married people comparable treatment would invite a lawsuit from the anti-gay right, and they'd have a good chance of winning. The only situation that I've seen where a regulatory change has managed to stick has been in the State Department's policy on defining "members of household" for Americans in the Foreign Service, in relation to when they are moved to different posts. Gay couples have been able to relocate together by declaring the non-officer partner as a "member of household" along with family members, nannies, etc. But one doubts very seriously that a similar designation could be granted at the borders under the current political climate, and for a whole other set of reasons.

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 1:31:08 PM:

      Kevin

      I just fucked myself and it was the best ass I have had in a while.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

      Now, back to the point.

      Jack Jett

    1. Double T on Nov 6, 2007 2:08:07 PM:

      Jack Jett,
      Now you're a funny man.

      Watch out for Kevin,I don't like to say anything mean about people so I'll spell it. B-I-T-T-E-R.

      1)I'm not sure what Dan S. is teaching his kid. I think someone is "reading between the lines" on this one.

      2)To be or not to be(in America) is a tough decision. I can see living in Brazil as a great adventure.

      But Chris,I'm not trying to be mean to you, if you want things to change in America. The fight is not in Brazil.

      I guess it all boils down to "what do you really WANT".

    1. charlie on Nov 6, 2007 2:33:06 PM:

      In this instance I would have to say that I think that the INS does not discriminate in anyway - they treat everyone like shit. They are a disgrace to this country and just one of the many reasons that, even with the tremendously weak Bush $, inbound to travel to the US is not growing – people just don’t want to spend hard earned euros to have some monolingual US bureaucrat intimidate them.

    1. DaveNPa on Nov 6, 2007 2:46:03 PM:

      I've known Chris before he started this blog, and although he has left the country to be with his partner, he has not "Run away" from this fight, or from any fight concerning equal treatment of gays in the USA.

      Most gays dismiss this blog because Chris calls to task those supposed "Gay Friendly" democrats and "Pro Gay" organizations. I actually applaud him for not following democratic candidates blindly and bringing forth eye opening facts about our supposed representation authority, the HRC.

      While I do understand the need for tougher immigration laws, I think its ridiculous that gays get unfair and unequal treatment where even this is concerned.

      I'm sure his words posted here and other places have due influence.

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Nov 6, 2007 2:47:05 PM:

      You'll pardon us, charlie, if we happen to think our country's security is more important than making tourists feel good about themselves.

      Just keep in mind that the reason there were not more 9/11 hijackers is because one of those "monolingual US bureaucrats" did his job.

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 3:01:54 PM:

      "I'm sure his words posted here and other places have due influence."

      How?

      To what degree does this blog influence the way our laws are made anymore than any other blog?

      I agree with the Charlie. The INS treats everyone like shit. I don't think they really have enough time to give a rat's ass if someone is gay or straight. They are just waiting until their next 15 minute break. The vibe I get from them is that they hate everyone and everyone hates them.

      Here in middle America, we have bigger fish to fry than worrying about our European travels.

      Jack Jett


    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 3:16:16 PM:

      To still cowardly unidentified Double T:

      It's not bitterness. It's strong support of a good friend in the face of incredibly stupid bull shit like that statement. And it doesn't matter if one comment or 100 comments (a la Datalounge) say the same drivel -- it's still stupid to accuse Chris Crain of "running away from a fight" because he wouldn't sacrifice his relationship for some fucked up badge of honor and authenticity you think he should be wearing. I think it's brotherhood to shove a bully back when he threatens your friend. I think its sad and bitter when people anonymously troll blogs to make stupid, snide comments because they don't have to balls to own up to their beliefs.

      And to Jack Jett -- I'm glad you and you had such a lovely fuck together. Might I suggest you continue doing it?

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 3:33:59 PM:

      Kevin

      Thanks for the permission to fuck myself some more and we all appreciate your defense of Chris Crain...
      but other than being a protective brother, what is your point?

      Jack Jett

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 3:39:34 PM:

      Kev....Bro

      Now I get it...You live in Brazil with your fellow ex pat....and per your blog this is one of the reasons as you say....

      "Also, an American lives a lot better here than he would in most cities back home because socio-economic inequities in most parts of the world tend to favor people with American education and experience."

      MMMMMM......
      pot/kettle

      Some might refer to that as convenient activism.

      Jack Jett

    1. Double T on Nov 6, 2007 4:41:14 PM:

      Kev,
      1)I'm not attacking Mr.Crain. As far as the boyfriend thing goes, I try really hard to steer clear of CC’s boyfriend. Personally I think it’s OFF LIMITS.

      But I do wonder if there are other options than picking up and moving to Brazil. If you want to be in Brazil, I have no problem with that. I’m assuming he wishes he didn’t have to be in Brazil. I would be fascinated to explore options to help him, but this leads to the boyfriend, which is off limits.

      2) I’ve been told that you are a very articulate person, so what is with the “potty mouth”. “Hey go F- yourself.” What kind of a way is that to make a point? For all the finger pointing you do at people I would think you would be above this behavior.

      3) Bashing HRC must be some kind of compulsive disorder with you. Why is it their fault? Where the hell is the Log Cabin Republicans??? Why don’t they have a building in D.C.???

      When the ENDA uproar occurred HRC wasn’t the first voice. Lots gay organizations chimed in, but you only heard HRC. Do you think the Joe S. and Jed just sit in their house on the Cape and plot new ways to upset you? Is it all about you?

      4) “To still cowardly unidentified Double T” when I started reading this blog, I noticed someone signed in as C Squared. Was that person a coward? I don’t understand why you are so hell bent to have my name. I can’t have an opinion without some “membership” my name will buy me. I’m no one special. I’m average Joe Queer. Happy?

      5) Why is it that anyone who disagrees with you in “trolling” via a datalounge? Is this something you use to do? I’m not attacking people here; I’m expressing my honest opinion. Why does this scare you so much?

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 5:27:31 PM:

      Why is Chris Crain's boyfriend "off limits"?

      This thread has created more questions than answers.

      What is the data lounge? And why was I invited?

      Is there an entire contigency of homos living high on the hog in Brazil.
      Sounds super chic.

      Why is there never any complaints on this blog about Log Cabin Repukes?

      Jack Jett

    1. Double T on Nov 6, 2007 5:40:13 PM:

      Jack,
      If I disagree with Chris. My beef is with Chris. I see a lot of people attack significant others to get at the real target.

      I think that's B.S.

      Data Lounge(I'm guessing) coffee houses with computers. i.e. not tracable back to the user.

      Every major city around the world probably has a niche of gay american expats. Brazil is just one of those places.

      And Chris has complained about the LCR being "shy" lately.

      As for Kev, when you figure him out let me know.

    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 6:17:37 PM:

      To both of you:

      First of all, Chris and I both write blogs about our lives. Mine is probably a lot more about my life than his, but who cares. To each his own. I think we do our best to make it as clear as possible, in the very rich and complex totality of it all, why we feel the way we do, why we make the choices we can (or have to) make. And how that ends up making us feel.

      We put it out there. You simply make comments. And in the case of accusing Chris of "running away", very stupid comments at times. I say 'stupid' because it is the most extreme, reductive kind of attack on a person's humanity to think you have the right to "debate" the hand he was dealt in life, rather than read all he has written and understand there is anguish in the life he has been forced to live. And maybe even gain a little humility from it, rather than lash out the way you do.

      Yes, I'm cutting when it comes to attacks on Chris. I have every right to be. He's my friend. Unlike you, I *know* what he is dealing with. He has been caricatured plenty in his career (and so have I, in my past career) by people who have no fucking idea who he really is and think they have the right to tell him how to live his life, how to think what he thinks, that he'd be better off abandoning his partner at the risk of being called a "quitter". It's one thing to debate a person on a topic. It's quite another to think you have the right to debate a person's humanity, especially when you have no fucking idea what it's like to be in his shoes.

      When was the last time you had to choose between your husband, and your country? Between the one person you've waited your whole life to be with, and your whole notion of how you would live your life? There WAS no other choice, not for him, and not for me, and not for thousands of others like us. And to suggest that we are lacking in some kind of authenticity of voice because we don't fit into your prescription of thinking, or action, or what have you, is plain, out-and-out bullshit. And it deserves as much profanity-laced push-back as I can dish out, if it's directed at someone as courageous as my friend Chris Crain.

      I don't know either of you people, nor does it seem that you want to be known as you both seem to be either guarding your identities or prefer to lurk in comment sections rather than risk putting anything close to the same level of yourselves out there. That is precisely why I bring it up. For all your attacks on Chris, he is putting it out there. You hide behind a pseudonym. So yeah, I have the right to say 'fuck you' on that. Frankly, I don't give a shit who you are. I just think you have zero integrity, and I am saying it.

      On the bit by Jack Jett about thinking he's somehow uncovered the "true" motivation for why I left my country to move to Brazil -- frankly, you've just done me the favor of proving everything I've just written. You can take a blog of many, many years, with very, very personal and intimate information that I've put out there, and reduce it down to one sentence taken out of context, and think that you've captured Kevin's entire essence.

      That's what separates people with something to say from trolls. People who defend their friends from people who hide behind a computer screen and spit venom. People with integrity from people with none.

      End of story.

    1. Double T on Nov 6, 2007 6:47:29 PM:

      WoW!!!!!

      Honey, climb down off your cross, they need the wood.

      Kev, go back. Re-read what was written. LOL. Wow.

      No one is picking on you.

      Kevin-what is really bothering you. It can't be this little ol' blog. No way.

      Go talk to someone. Take Crain out for coffee. Treat yourself to something.

    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 7:30:04 PM:

      That's all you got?

      Geez, that was easy.

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 7:33:01 PM:

      Kevin...honey towel off.

      Let me bring you back to a bit of reality. You and Chris are two bloggers living in Brazil. You are no better, or no worse than any other blogger in any other country.

      It is clear that you and Chris can not deal with the slightest bit of critique or the questioning of your motives without going into an alternative state of mind.

      Take a chill pill, read your post, and you might see that you are so caught up in your rant that you are not even making sense.

      I give my first and last name. I would have no reason to post from a hidden cafe in Istanbul. I am far too busy fucking myself to travel anywhere.

      Reality check....Kevin and Chris are bloggers from Brazil. You are not Clinton and Obama.
      You are no better or worse than the rest of us and all the ranting in the world will not change that.

      Now, take a deep breath, know that I love you very much and no one wants to hurt your little buddy Chris. We love him too.

      Peace.....

      Jack Jett

    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 7:33:45 PM:

      p.s. -- Chris, how funny does the title of your post look now? :-)

    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 7:36:19 PM:

      Nobody is saying anyone is better. But you suggested he was "running away" because he didn't dump the love of his life.

      Full stop.

      My response: Fuck you, shitbag.

      That's the whole thing.

      You said it. I responded. You deserved it.

      Shall I post a PowerPoint?

    1. Jack Jett on Nov 6, 2007 8:11:46 PM:

      I don't know you Kevin so I have no reason to say anything but not only do I love you, but I love to love you.

      You are right, after fucking myself all day, I have ended up a shitbag.

      Peace, Luv and
      Shag Haircuts
      4 Ever........

      Punked.

      jack jett

    1. Double T on Nov 6, 2007 9:11:39 PM:

      Jack,

      Hahhahahahha. I'm laughing so hard I just fell out of my seat at the Cafe Internet.

      I love you too.

      And remember, always, Safe Sex.

      Kev, you've got a "potty mouth", clean it up. Would you kiss the GOP with that mouth, I hope not.
      ...........
      Oh my God. LOL....

      I have this imagine of Kev entering the country.

      Customs: May see your passport?

      Kev: No you SH-TBAG!!!

      Customs: Excuse me?

      Kev: Go F- yourself

      Customs: Sir?

      Kev: You've picking on me because I'm a gay expat living in Brazil.

      Customs: Sir, please.

      Kev: I hate this country.
      ...........
      It's not disrespect when you beg for.

      Oh, I got to order more coffee before they disconnect me.


    1. Kevin on Nov 6, 2007 9:14:13 PM:

      Cute.

      But it has little to do with what you said, and why it was totally out of line. Now who's the one going astray of the point?

      Love and rockets.

      Watch your personal attacks on Chris, okay?

      -K

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