This report was written by Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program of Human Rights Watch; Jessica Stern, researcher in the LGBT Rights Program of Human Rights Watch; and Adam Francoeur, program coordinator of Immigration Equality. Jessica Stern conducted the bulk of the interviews with assistance from Adam Francoeur and Scott Long.
The report is based on research conducted between 2003 and 2006. Immigration Equality surveyed binational same-sex couples via questionnaire between March 2003 and November 2004; they received approximately 900 responses that laid the groundwork for future documentation and conceptual development. In late 2004, Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality formally decided to collaborate on this report. Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality conducted interviews via telephone and in-person around the United States between October 2004 and January 2006 with thirty-three binational same-sex couples. Sixteen were lesbian-identified, fifteen were gay-identified, and two had one partner who was transgender. In addition to the range of countries represented among the 900 survey respondents, the non-citizen partners among the couples interviewed were from: Argentina, Australia, the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Rwanda, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Numerous people in the U.S. and in exile around the world who cannot be named for reasons of security participated in this research in invaluable ways. We give our deep thanks to the many couples and individuals we worked with on this report.
At Human Rights Watch, this report was edited by Joe Saunders, deputy program director; Dinah Pokempner, general counsel; Alison Parker, senior researcher in the U.S. Program; and Jamie Fellner, director of the U.S. Program. We are grateful to our colleagues for the advice they gave us: Rebecca Schleifer, researcher in the HIV/AIDS Program; Joe Amon, director of the HIV/AIDS Program; and William Frelick, director of Refugee Policy. Andrea Holley, manager of Outreach and Public Education, provided endless support with all aspects of production. We give our deep thanks to Jessica Robertson, intern in the LGBT Rights Program, who provided critical research assistance and beyond. Lance Lattig, media editor, provided communications advice. Liba Beyer, associate director, Development and Outreach, was instrumental in developing outreach and advocacy strategies.
Human Rights Watch expresses its gratitude to Henry van Ameringen, Alvin H. Baum, the David Bohnett Foundation, the David Geffen Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation the Gill Foundation, James C. Hormel and Timothy Wu, the Pomegranate Foundation, Ann B. Snitow, Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan, the Tides Foundation, and Reid Williams for their ongoing support of its work on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peoples rights.
Immigration Equality thanks its entire office along with former staff and interns. Specifically, we thank Lavi Soloway, Jennifer Higgins, Pradeep Singla, April Herms, and Heather Betz for their advice, encouragement and work with same-sex binational couples and LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants. We also thank former interns Tara Polansky, Fadi Hanna, and Aaron Morris for their contributions to drafts of this report. We give our deep thanks to Rachel B. Tiven, Victoria Neilson, Sarah Sohn, and Adam Pedersen-Doherty for their support in publishing this report.
Immigration Equality expresses deep appreciation to those who have made our work possible: the Arcus Foundation; the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr., Fund; the Ford Foundation; the Open Society Institute; and the Paul Rapoport Foundation.
Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality thank Congressman Jerrold Nadler and his staff, along with Senator Leahy and his staff, for their leadership in Congress struggling for justice for same-sex binational couples and LGBT immigrants and their families.
Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality wish to acknowledge gratefully the work of the many organizations and individuals supporting the rights of binational same-sex couples. For their advice, insight and wisdom, we particularly thank: Anna Browne of Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition; Nancy Buermeyer, Cerissa Cafasso, and Mark Glaze of The Raben Group; Cathy Chang and the members of Las Buenas Amigas; Debanuj Dasgupta of the Queer Immigrant Rights Project; Marta Donayre and Leslie Bulbuk of Love Sees No Borders; Jennifer Hope of CUNY Law School; Mark Kightlinger; Martha McDevitt-Pugh of Love Exiles; Matthew McTighe of the Human Rights Campaign; Andrew Park; Roberta Sklar of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and Paul Zakrzewski.. Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality offer our gratitude and thanks to Steptoe and Johnson, LLC; William Isasi; and our colleagues in Brazil, Sonia Correa, Roger Raupp Rios, and Beto de Jesus for their research on global same-sex immigration rights. We thank Gary Gates for his thorough research into same-sex binational couples according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality thank Chris Daley of the Transgender Law Center, Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Cole Thaler of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, for their guidance on transgender issues in immigration. We also thank Sebastian Cordoba, Machu Latorre and Tracey Luszcz for their visual expertise and support.
For their participation in a conference call during the developmental stages of this report, Human Rights Watch and Immigration Equality wish to thank: Dusty Aráujo, International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission; Leslie Bulbuk, Love Sees No Borders; Jason Cianciotto, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Marta Donayre, Love Sees No Borders; Gary Gates, UCLA School of Law - The Williams Institute; Ariel Herrera, Amnesty International - Outfront; Steven Kang, Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York; Davina Kotulsky, Marriage Equality U.S.A.; Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Love Exiles; and Matt McTighe, Human Rights Campaign.
Finally, we acknowledge the groundbreaking work of Lionel Cantu. Mr. Cantu's research on the impact of sexuality and migration within Mexican men-who-have-sex-with-men communities was highly influential in this report. We also thank Nancy Naples for her support and efforts to continue Lionel's work. Lionel Cantu died unexpectedly in Santa Cruz on May 26, 2002. We hope this report will help sustain his legacy and work.
This report is for the thousands of binational same-sex couples who struggle under the devastating burdens of U.S. immigration policy and non-recognition of their relationships for a simple wish: to be loving families with one another.