Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



by Mubarak Dahir

This article shared 1538 times since Wed Jul 18, 2001
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

When Alistair McArtney and Tim Miller flirted after a workshop on performance art at London's Institute for Contemporary Art in July 1994, their attraction led them on a walk together to Trafalgar Square, and then back by taxi to Miller's hotel room. They didn't know their blossoming relationship would for years to come lead them back and forth across several continents and oceans, battling a United States immigration service that stubbornly refuses to recognize their love.

At first, the international affair seemed sexy and exciting. McArtney, an Australian, was living and studying in England. Miller, a well-known American artist and activist, lived in the Los Angeles area. The two would see each other in what Miller described as "chunks of time." Miller would get a short-term teaching gig in England, or set up a long-running show there. On school breaks, McArtney would take months of vacation and visit Miller in America.

It wasn't long, however, before the trans-Atlantic dating turned expensive on their wallets and trying on their emotions. "There were months at a time when we didn't see each other," explained McArtney. They couldn't afford to call each other daily, so phone conversations were limited to once a week. "I wrote a lot of long love letters," McArtney said.

In 1997, after three years of struggling, the two men decided they could no longer bear to be an ocean apart. McArtney got accepted into a masters of fine arts program at Antioch University in the Los Angeles area, but in order to secure the visa to come here and study, he had to go back to Australia. It took nearly a year before all the paperwork was in place and the two men could be together. Even then, it was at great cost. "I'm spending $30,000 on a degree I don't really need or want, just so I can be with Tim," said McArtney.

"We had to jump through so many hoops to stay together," said Miller, who has since become an activist on the issue of gay and lesbian binational couples separated by the United States' refusal to recognize gay and lesbian relationships as valid. "We couldn't do what some of our straight friends were doing: getting married and getting a green card."

The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force estimates there are approximately 100,000 gay and lesbian binational couples struggling under similar circumstances in the United States. That number may be dramatically low, however, since it's impossible to know how many couples thwart the unfair immigration laws and find ways for the international partner to stay here illegally.

In February of this year, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, for the second time sponsored a bill that would give same-sex couples the same immigration rights as straight married people. Eric Schmeltzer, Nadler's spokesman, acknowledged that the bill wouldn't even get a committee hearing, but said the Congressman was hoping to raise the issue and slowly build support towards a solution. "Who is the American government to tear apart relationships because of outdated immigration codes?" he asked. "It's a gratuitous cruelty."

The most common way to subvert the unyielding immigration law is to arrange a fake marriage.

"Brian" and "Javier" reluctantly told me their story only on condition that their names be changed and that many of the details of their lives remain vague so they could not be identified. While they shared their story, they asked not to be quoted directly. All these precautions even though Javier is now an American citizen and they live together as an openly gay couple.

The two men met in the late 1980s while Javier, who is from South America, was getting his Ph.D. at an Ivy League university. They lived together for five years, and considered themselves married.

After Javier graduated, he had a year to work in the United States on a special visa. The couple hoped Javier could find a job that would sponsor him to stay here, so they wouldn't be torn apart by U.S. laws that negated all the years they spent as a loving couple.

But as Javier's visa came dangerously close to expiring, he found himself without a sponsorship. The couple feared they would be forced apart. If Javier returned home to South America, it would be years before he could come back to the United States and apply for residency. The two men felt they had no choice but to take a drastic step: Set up Javier in a fake marriage.

They won't say how they found the American woman willing to marry Javier in exchange for money, an apartment of her own in the city, and other gifts. They won't say how much the deal they cut cost, except that it involved an initial fee at the time of marriage, an annual fee while the two were in the fake marriage, and a final settlement when the couple finally got divorced. During that entire time—a total of about five years—they also paid rent on two apartments. In addition to the woman's private residence, they maintained one for appearance to satisfy immigration officials, so it looked as if they lived together. As a precaution, Brian kept his own place, where Javier spent most nights. Brian never spent the night in the married couple's apartment.

Short of such a dangerous game of deception, binational couples are left with few choices, none of them good: Break up, try to survive the financial and emotional strains of a long-distance relationship, or try to emigrate to a country where both partners can work and live.

When McArtney's student visa expires in December of this year, he and Miller will likely move to Canada so they can remain together. Though Miller is justifiably angry and unhappy about rooting himself up from his home city and country, he and McArtney are determined not to let politics split the bond between them. Said Miller: "We have no intention of letting the American government break up our family."

This article shared 1538 times since Wed Jul 18, 2001
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event 2023-03-18
- Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...

Gay News

Pope says being gay no crime, cites anti-LGBTQ laws in 70 countries. LGBTQ leaders respond 2023-01-25
--From press releases - (January 25, 2023) — Pope Francis called laws that criminalize same-sex relationships "unjust," stating that "being homosexual is not a crime" in an interview with the Associated Press today. The Pope also called for the Roman ...

Gay News

WORLD Chile's marriage law, Tokyo's move, Iran arrest, Mr. Gay World resigns 2021-12-19
- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera signed a historic bill legalizing same-sex marriage into law, days after the measure was approved by Congress, Al-Jazeera reported. The law "puts all love relationships between two people on an equal footing," ...

Gay News

Pope Francis documentary 'Francesco' to debut March 26 2021-03-16
- Pope Francis—in the news lately because of the Catholic Church's stance that it cannot bless same-sex unions, adding that it is "not licit" to bless relationships that involve sexual activity outside of marriage—is the subject of ...

Gay News

Vatican won't bless same-sex unions 2021-03-15
- The Catholic Church said it cannot bless same-sex unions, adding that it is "not licit" to bless relationships that involve sexual activity outside of marriage, according to an NBC News item. The Congregation for the Doctrine ...

Gay News

WORLD: Bhutan's pro-gay move, LGBTQ+ refugees, official comes out 2020-12-14
- A joint sitting of both houses of Bhutan's parliament approved a bill to legalize gay sex, making the tiny Himalayan kingdom the latest Asian nation to take steps toward easing restrictions on same-sex relationships, Reuters reported. ...

Gay News

MOVIES 'Cicada' flies into virtual film festivals this fall 2020-09-25
- Set in New York City, a queer-centered movie called Cicada is now hitting virtual film festivals and explores complicated relationships with a backdrop of childhood trauma. Ben and Sam meet at a bookstore and a journey ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MUSIC Rufus Wainwright on new album, Pride, future 2020-07-08
- Out and proud performer Rufus Wainwright has always been and continues to be the thinking man's musician. His songs run deep with sometimes heavy lyrics covering topics such as family relationships, politics and religion. For those ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MUSIC Out singer Tom Goss talks newest work, bears, 'Mean Girls' 2020-02-05
- Out singer Tom Goss released his newest album, Territories, in 2019. With the record, he created videos for several singles that spotlight relationships. The LA-based singer-songwriter is known for tackling LGBT issues with his studio albums ...

Gay News

Center for Law and Social Work gives LGBTQ families equal footing 2019-11-13
- According to the Equality Illinois publication Growing Your Family: A Guide for Prospective LGBT Adoptive Parents, there are more than "34,000 same-sex couples in long-term relationships living across the state, and 21 percent of these couples ...

Gay News

Moulin Rouge, A Night with Janis Joplin among Gene Siskel Film Center events 2019-10-29
- OCTOBER SERIES: Screening/Lecture Series: Viewing Positions (through December 10): This series uses a wide variety of films to demonstrate the different relationships that films establish with the viewer, and ...

Gay News

Afterglow opening at Pride Arts Center March 27 2019-02-09
- Chicago, IL - Casting for the Chicago Premiere of AFTERGLOW, an off-Broadway hit from 2017 exploring the emotional, intellectual, and physical connections between three men and the broader implications within their relationships, has been announced by ...

Gay News

Ripe. Letters, by Alan Semrow, seeks to redefine relationships 2018-11-28
- People live in a world of relationships. When one hears "relationship," that person may think boyfriend, spouse or girlfriend. Alan Semrow's latest book seeks to expand one's understanding of what a relationship actually is. Ripe: Letters ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood Videos Help Parents, Kids Talk About Bodies, Gender, Identities 2018-10-17
- New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America has launched the first set of videos in a new series for parents and caregivers on how to talk about topics related to bodies, sex, and relationships ...

Gay News

Kenyan director of consumer protection seems to agree with anti-gay laws 2018-07-30
From a Allied Progress press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, Kenyan news outlet reported that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) "Acting Director" Mick Mulvaney appeared to agree with bans on LGBTQ+ intimacy and relationships ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.