What’s on my mind tonight? Immigration.
When we set foot on the soil of Country A this weekend, a lot is at stake. A ‘normal’ family would just pick the ‘citizens’ or ‘foreign nationals’ line and line up together. Fill in one form.
Us? I am a citizen of Country A and Country B, as are the babies. TMD is only a citizen of Country B, as Country A is a giant big fat redneck ho-down of ignorance in terms of gay rights. Country A can actually refuse her entry into its hallowed fields of grain, etc etc as she is legally married to little ol’ me. (With a legality that is erased and unrecognised by the unbelievable arrogance of the federal laws of Country A.)
Before we had children, we would separate at the immigration lines without being coupley at all. We went through our independent lines. I was never questioned about anything regarding relationships, though I faced a fair number of questions like this: Why don’t you want to live in our great country? What is wrong with it? Why would you choose to live somewhere else? I’ve had my bags ripped apart, I’ve been shamelessly flirted with by male customs and immigration men, I have been questioned and had my answers recorded into their giant database thing.
TMD has had the odd question as well. Coming here for Christmas – what, aren’t your family mad about that? You’ve been in this country a lot recently….why is that? Do you have a boyfriend here?
I have felt belittled and angry about having to be closeted at all. I have no shame about myself, my wife, and our family. But I’ve kept my mouth shut because, well, sometimes that is easier, particularly when the people you are talking to have guns and shiny badges.
With children, things get a lot more complicated. For me, I’ll be asked to prove that I have the right to be taking them abroad on my own – I suspect this will be a bigger issue on the return trip home rather than going into that country, but still. The issue is there. I’ll be asked who I’m travelling with, as I’m actually not able to fly alone with two four month old babies. We both have full parental responsibility for Snort and Coconut, which makes things even messier. TMD and I do not want to lie. But we don’t want to overshare, either.
I was supposed to be in a wheelchair in both airports, but have decided I will probably try to walk in Country A. This means I can go alone through the citizens immigration line with the babies and TMD can go through the foreign nationals line. Hopefully no one will want to fuck around with me too much, as I will have two babies and a giant ass twin stroller (we need it for the car seats!).
We shouldn’t have to have conversations about whether we should split up or go through as a family. We shouldn’t know that to go through as a family is inviting questions at best, TMD being detained or deported at worst. We shouldn’t be planning all of the documents we will need – including TMD getting a letter stating that she has a full time job over here and is due back at work on 5 January.
TMD shouldn’t be crying because she is scared that somehow, the unthinkable will happen and she will have to spend Christmas alone. (Incidentally, we would fly back with her…assuming they would make provision to find the babies and me seats…but why would they, if they were already fine with not recognizing us as a family?)
I shouldn’t be angry about the fact that only a few years from now, the babies won’t be babies any more and we’re going to have some tough discussions about why immigration is so different here in our home as compared to Country A.
While I know it’s very unlikely either of us will be questioned that much, and that there is no way they could stop her entering – we have a life in this country, a mortgage, full time jobs, she’s clearly not looking to make an illegal and lifelong move to The Country That Time Forgot – it’s still upsetting and scary. I won’t get my wheelchair, true, but what’s a million times more important is that we are going to be treated as less than a fully human family.
So fuck you, Country A.