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UNITED STATES

Male to Male relationships: Legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: No law
Female to Female Relationships: Legal
Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals
Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: Marriage laws vary in this country depending on area
Is it possible to change your gender on official documents?: Only in some areas
Gay or lesbian able to serve in the armed forces: Yes

Your Views

Are you LGBTI? We want to hear from you! Help us inform other users of the site with your views on this country. Below is a random question about this country. If it is relevant to you please answer it.

Are you out at work in UNITED STATES? Have there been any responses to your sexual orientation at work?

The majority of people visiting this site have said Support from boss and co-workers

Negative responses from boss (18%) Negative responses from co-workers (15%) I was fired for my sexual orientation (12%) Support from boss and co-workers (53%)

The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

YOUR STORIES
Post a new story to this section

Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in UNITED STATES...
Darryl J. Ellzey (user currently living in BRAZIL) posted for gay readers on 09/09/2013 tagged with laws and leadership +5
link
I recently read a report on abcnews.go.com about an American woman and her husband who was in the U.S. illegally. The article is their story about how unjust the immigration system was toward this married couple, because the illegal husband was deported. The story was very dramatic and made the couple sound like victims. The article even says that in the case of this couple, they were trying to do things, “the right way.” In all honesty, it is a sad story, and I completely agree that immigration reform is badly needed, but as I was reading the article I couldn’t help but think about my own situation. I couldn’t help but think about how this woman would feel if neither of them had done anything wrong, and they were still forced to leave the country in order to stay together. So, without the drama and sentimentality, I would like to tell my story. I would like to know that my experience is documented by someone, that my story is heard and that we are counted in the statistics. I don’t intend to make my story sad, because I don’t want pity. I just want people to know the truth. I want people to know the story of TRUE injustice, because in my story, no laws were broken, everything was done in a legal manner according to the laws of the United States of America.
I met, in person, the man of my dreams in a small seafood restaurant parking lot on the Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama. He was living in Pensacola, Florida and I was living in Mobile. Our initial contact was through the internet. Only after exchanging many emails and phone calls, did we decide to meet.
So, we met and fell instantly in love. There was just one problem. He is not American and he knew that he would probably be leaving the U.S. to return to his home country of Brazil in about one year. I really liked him and it was our decision to see what happened in that year and if we wanted to be together, we would find a way.
Our journey began. We knew that in order for him to get a green card and be able to stay in the U.S. legally, we would have to get married. The only problem was that two men couldn’t get married. We had heard that it might be possible for him to stay if we had a civil union. So, we headed to Vermont and had a civil union. Only to later be told in the immigration offices in Atlanta, GA that our civil union was not recognized as a legal relationship by the U.S. government and would not help in any way for him to obtain a green card.
After many phone calls and meetings with an immigration attorney and with immigration officials , it was evident that he would not be getting any sort of permanent residency status and that he would be leaving the U.S. and returning to his home country of Brazil.
Almost 7 years before we met, Bart had left Brazil amidst much turmoil and danger. He knew he was gay and he saw that in his city of Sao Paulo, gays and lesbians were being beaten by police, their homes and hangouts were being raided and there were no laws protecting the GLBT community from hate crimes. So, with piles of documented proof in hand, he sought asylum in the U.S. Within 6 months of his arrival to the U.S., Bart applied for asylum. From the time he applied for asylum, until almost 7 years later, Bart waited for his day in immigration court. While he waited, he always kept his immigration documentation up-to-date, so that he was never illegal. Not for even one minute was he illegal in the U.S. During this period, he spent thousands of dollars on immigration attorneys to assist him in his endeavor of obtaining permanent status in the U.S.
While Bart was living , working, and studying (legally) in the U.S., Brazil was going through some changes as well. During the 7 years that Bart waited for a court date, Brazil passed many laws related to GLBT issues. In fact, by the time Bart went to court, the laws in Brazil were actually stronger than the laws in the U.S. related to equality and protection of its GLBT citizens. However, in practice, these laws were still being broken and Bart had documentation to prove these acts.
But, on the advice of his attorney, Bart decided to seek voluntary departure from the U.S. and not proceed with his asylum case. His attorney informed him that the case would almost certainly be lost and if the judge ruled that his case was frivoulous, Bart could be denied re-entry to the country for the remainder of his life.
So, Bart and I traveled to Florida to go in front of the immigration judge and be given the date that we would have to leave the country. It never entered my mind to let Bart leave the country alone so I could stay in the U.S. We were in love and I was willing to sacrifice everything I had to be with him. After all, we were (and still are) a family!
In the hallways and waiting areas of the immigration court offices, I saw many foreigners from all over the world. In every face, I could see the stress of what this day, this decision, brought to them. It was devastating to me, as an American citizen to hear how these fellow humans were talked to and to see how they were treated. The employees and agents who I encountered while in those hallways and areas were not aware that I was an American and that I was accompanying my life partner to the court, and for once in my life, I was treated with 100% equality, because they treated me with the same disdain and arrogance that they treated the many foreigners with whom I happened to be standing next to in lines and in waiting areas.
Once in the court room, before the judge and the U.S. immigration attorney, my relationship with Bart was stripped of any credibility and even though we were there for Bart to seek permission to leave the country, he was still treated like a criminal. (At this point, I would like to remind the reader that Bart never spent one day illegal on U.S. soil. He spent a lot of money and a lot of time to make sure that he kept his status up-to-date and that he followed the law with 100% accuracy.) As a matter of fact, I was not even allowed to sit with Bart during the proceedings. Heterosexual spouses of foreigners were allowed to stay with their loved ones and offer support and encouragement, but I was seated at the back of the room, almost as far away from Bart as possible within the confines of that court room. Our lives and our relationship meant nothing to the immigration attorney nor the judge as we heard them refer to Bart simply as, “the foreigner or the Brazilian”. We knew the ultimate answer from this court was that Bart would be leaving the U.S. in 30 – 90 days. He was given 45. His attorney petitioned the court for 90 days so that we could celebrate one last Christmas and my 40th birthday with my friends and family. We were denied that petition. The answer from the U.S. immigration attorney was, “If the American wants to stay, he can, but the Brazilian needs to leave the country in the 45 days specified.” I wasn’t even recognized by name, only as “the American”. The attorney nor the judge ever looked at me nor did they acknowledge my presence in the room. I was strictly spoken of in third person, as if I weren’t even there.
We had 45 days to tie up all the many loose ends that we had and we had 45 days for him to say goodbye to friends that he had known for 7 years, and I had 45 days to say goodbye to friends and family I had known for almost 40 years. I left a 16-year career as a Registered Nurse. We sold or gave away most of our belongings and we moved our lives to Brasil with two suitcases each, one carry-on each, and one personal item each.
It really irritated me to read the American’s woman story as it was written from the perspective that she and her husband did nothing wrong and that they were mistreated by the system, when , in fact, our stories are very similar, except that Bart and I did NOTHING illegal and were still forced to root up our lives and move to another country simply because we are gay.
Please feel to contact me at djellzey@yahoo.com for any further information.
With sincere thanks and gratitude,
Darryl J. Ellzey
Legal Resident of Brasil since 2006
add response to story
Darryl J. Ellzey (user currently living in BRAZIL) posted for gay readers on 09/09/2013 tagged with laws and leadership +5
link
I recently read a report on abcnews.go.com about an American woman and her husband who was in the U.S. illegally. The article is their story about how unjust the immigration system was toward this married couple, because the illegal husband was deported. The story was very dramatic and made the couple sound like victims. The article even says that in the case of this couple, they were trying to do things, “the right way.” In all honesty, it is a sad story, and I completely agree that immigration reform is badly needed, but as I was reading the article I couldn’t help but think about my own situation. I couldn’t help but think about how this woman would feel if neither of them had done anything wrong, and they were still forced to leave the country in order to stay together. So, without the drama and sentimentality, I would like to tell my story. I would like to know that my experience is documented by someone, that my story is heard and that we are counted in the statistics. I don’t intend to make my story sad, because I don’t want pity. I just want people to know the truth. I want people to know the story of TRUE injustice, because in my story, no laws were broken, everything was done in a legal manner according to the laws of the United States of America.
I met, in person, the man of my dreams in a small seafood restaurant parking lot on the Mobile Bay in Mobile, Alabama. He was living in Pensacola, Florida and I was living in Mobile. Our initial contact was through the internet. Only after exchanging many emails and phone calls, did we decide to meet.
So, we met and fell instantly in love. There was just one problem. He is not American and he knew that he would probably be leaving the U.S. to return to his home country of Brazil in about one year. I really liked him and it was our decision to see what happened in that year and if we wanted to be together, we would find a way.
Our journey began. We knew that in order for him to get a green card and be able to stay in the U.S. legally, we would have to get married. The only problem was that two men couldn’t get married. We had heard that it might be possible for him to stay if we had a civil union. So, we headed to Vermont and had a civil union. Only to later be told in the immigration offices in Atlanta, GA that our civil union was not recognized as a legal relationship by the U.S. government and would not help in any way for him to obtain a green card.
After many phone calls and meetings with an immigration attorney and with immigration officials , it was evident that he would not be getting any sort of permanent residency status and that he would be leaving the U.S. and returning to his home country of Brazil.
Almost 7 years before we met, Bart had left Brazil amidst much turmoil and danger. He knew he was gay and he saw that in his city of Sao Paulo, gays and lesbians were being beaten by police, their homes and hangouts were being raided and there were no laws protecting the GLBT community from hate crimes. So, with piles of documented proof in hand, he sought asylum in the U.S. Within 6 months of his arrival to the U.S., Bart applied for asylum. From the time he applied for asylum, until almost 7 years later, Bart waited for his day in immigration court. While he waited, he always kept his immigration documentation up-to-date, so that he was never illegal. Not for even one minute was he illegal in the U.S. During this period, he spent thousands of dollars on immigration attorneys to assist him in his endeavor of obtaining permanent status in the U.S.
While Bart was living , working, and studying (legally) in the U.S., Brazil was going through some changes as well. During the 7 years that Bart waited for a court date, Brazil passed many laws related to GLBT issues. In fact, by the time Bart went to court, the laws in Brazil were actually stronger than the laws in the U.S. related to equality and protection of its GLBT citizens. However, in practice, these laws were still being broken and Bart had documentation to prove these acts.
But, on the advice of his attorney, Bart decided to seek voluntary departure from the U.S. and not proceed with his asylum case. His attorney informed him that the case would almost certainly be lost and if the judge ruled that his case was frivoulous, Bart could be denied re-entry to the country for the remainder of his life.
So, Bart and I traveled to Florida to go in front of the immigration judge and be given the date that we would have to leave the country. It never entered my mind to let Bart leave the country alone so I could stay in the U.S. We were in love and I was willing to sacrifice everything I had to be with him. After all, we were (and still are) a family!
In the hallways and waiting areas of the immigration court offices, I saw many foreigners from all over the world. In every face, I could see the stress of what this day, this decision, brought to them. It was devastating to me, as an American citizen to hear how these fellow humans were talked to and to see how they were treated. The employees and agents who I encountered while in those hallways and areas were not aware that I was an American and that I was accompanying my life partner to the court, and for once in my life, I was treated with 100% equality, because they treated me with the same disdain and arrogance that they treated the many foreigners with whom I happened to be standing next to in lines and in waiting areas.
Once in the court room, before the judge and the U.S. immigration attorney, my relationship with Bart was stripped of any credibility and even though we were there for Bart to seek permission to leave the country, he was still treated like a criminal. (At this point, I would like to remind the reader that Bart never spent one day illegal on U.S. soil. He spent a lot of money and a lot of time to make sure that he kept his status up-to-date and that he followed the law with 100% accuracy.) As a matter of fact, I was not even allowed to sit with Bart during the proceedings. Heterosexual spouses of foreigners were allowed to stay with their loved ones and offer support and encouragement, but I was seated at the back of the room, almost as far away from Bart as possible within the confines of that court room. Our lives and our relationship meant nothing to the immigration attorney nor the judge as we heard them refer to Bart simply as, “the foreigner or the Brazilian”. We knew the ultimate answer from this court was that Bart would be leaving the U.S. in 30 – 90 days. He was given 45. His attorney petitioned the court for 90 days so that we could celebrate one last Christmas and my 40th birthday with my friends and family. We were denied that petition. The answer from the U.S. immigration attorney was, “If the American wants to stay, he can, but the Brazilian needs to leave the country in the 45 days specified.” I wasn’t even recognized by name, only as “the American”. The attorney nor the judge ever looked at me nor did they acknowledge my presence in the room. I was strictly spoken of in third person, as if I weren’t even there.
We had 45 days to tie up all the many loose ends that we had and we had 45 days for him to say goodbye to friends that he had known for 7 years, and I had 45 days to say goodbye to friends and family I had known for almost 40 years. I left a 16-year career as a Registered Nurse. We sold or gave away most of our belongings and we moved our lives to Brasil with two suitcases each, one carry-on each, and one personal item each.
It really irritated me to read the American’s woman story as it was written from the perspective that she and her husband did nothing wrong and that they were mistreated by the system, when , in fact, our stories are very similar, except that Bart and I did NOTHING illegal and were still forced to root up our lives and move to another country simply because we are gay.
Please feel to contact me at djellzey@yahoo.com for any further information.
With sincere thanks and gratitude,
Darryl J. Ellzey
Legal Resident of Brasil since 2006
add response to story
add response to story
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