Being gay does not necessarily mean that all homosexuals are continually being harassed and discriminated against. A number of gays in fact, never encounter any difficulty in being themselves, although the vast majority, at some time or other, suffer directly as a result of their chosen sexuality. Either through legal oppression, job and housing discrimination, interference and violence from the police, ‘queer-bashers’, religious bigotry: need I go on? For most gays these intolerant and ignorant pressures from an aggressively heterosexual society become an accepted part of life.
For so many, there is too much to lose by becoming openly angry and struggling for their civil rights, because of society’s failure to comprehend and adjust to an acceptance and full understanding of gayness. A few gays, no longer content to put up with these problems and injustices, are brave enough to ‘come out’, and some of them join organisations such as CHE, GLF and the rest. For them the burdens of being gay, I suppose, become a little lighter and they can see ways in which they can actively attempt to put these wrongs to right.
Personally I have not found it too unbearable to live an open gay life. I found that honesty about myself was the best policy, and luckily most of my friends and acquaintances were aware enough to realise that there was no difference between us, except for my sexual preferences. 1 like to think that some of them now completely accept that there is more than one way to love.
But love has brought me into realising that there is yet another form of oppression put upon us gays by our legislature and political representatives. If you fall in love (define that yourselves) and you are heterosexual, it is the easiest thing in the world to have a happy, possibly lasting relationship. For gays too, to a certain extent. If you are heterosexual and your lover happens to be from another country, it is fairly easy to stay together by marrying.
But if you are gay and your boyfriend or girlfriend is Spanish or French for example, it’s not quite as easy. In fact it is extremely difficult. Immigration laws do not take into consideration gay relationships, thus making life very miserable and empty for some because of this existing situation.
A girl marrying a boy can overcome this, but can you imagine the reaction to a boy wanting to marry another boy, or a girl to another girl? It’s going to be quite a while before anything can be done to rectify this barrier between human relationships. There has to be many other changes, in attitude as well as legislation, before we can hope for any solutions to this particular problem.
Me, I’m feeling sorry for myself I suppose. I’m now alone after going through the beginnings of a very beautiful relationship, that had never been allowed to blossom into whatever it may have become. What happened was that we were separated after his visitors permit expired and he had to return to his own country. A foreigner is only allowed to stay for up to three months, after which he must leave. It is possible to return, but without a work permit (which usually only allows one to work within a limited area of employment and is also no easy task to obtain) and with him having already spent one lengthy period of time here, it could prove very difficult and frustrating to enable him to return.
My boyfriend and I may find a way around it. If we are devious and lucky enough. But most people in similar situations won’t necessarily be as fortunate as us. And we’re not even sure if we will be able to bend the laws yet.
Next time you come across someone who is dogmatic enough to think that gays are not oppressed, see if he/she can find a solution to this. And it is a problem that exists for a growing number of gays of both sexes.
In conclusion I’d like to say that I don’t think marriage is necessary to prove you love someone, but at the time of writing I would gladly ‘take the vows’ with my boyfriend so that we could be together.
ED: The writer of this piece has asked to remain anonymous in case the disclosure of his name hinders his plan to be re-united with his boyfriend.