Overcoming Fear Embracing the Adventure of Starting a Family in the US

Overcoming Fears Starting a Family in the US

Mrigaa Sethi just moved back to the US and feels unsafe about starting a family with her American wife. Mrigaa Sethi

  • I left New York 14 years ago, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the US.
  • Now, I’m married to an American woman and have a green card.
  • As a gay interracial couple, my wife and I are afraid of living in the US.

In 2009, I was living my best queer life in New York. Picture this: I was a twenty-something-year-old with a Master of Fine Arts degree from NYU, sharing an apartment with my American girlfriend in the hipster haven of Brooklyn. I was living the dream, reading my poetry at dive bars and community bookstores, feeling like the ultimate rebel. Sure, I was broke and uninsured, but hey, it was still an improvement from my days in India where I had never even heard the word “gay.”

But my dreams were shattered when my visa application got denied. It was a heartbreaking blow. The H-1B work visa was a tough nut to crack, and to make matters worse, same-sex marriage was still illegal at the federal level. My girlfriend couldn’t marry me and save the day. So, in a melancholy scene straight out of a movie, I bid farewell to the city that never sleeps and embarked on a rainy taxi ride, listening to Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and wondering if I was leaving the best country on Earth behind.

Back then, I would have given my left kidney for a green card. Now, as the proud owner of a green card, I find myself questioning its worth.

Fast forward to 2017, after the Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized marriage equality in the US, I fell head over heels in love with Erin, an American who lived 10,000 miles away from my newfound home in Southeast Asia. We embarked on a whirlwind year of long-distance romance until Erin mustered the courage to leave everything behind and join me in Singapore. Our love story was nothing short of epic, but Singapore, for all its glitz and glamour, didn’t provide the legal framework we needed to truly build a life together. We couldn’t apply as a family for permanent residency or access fertility treatments like IVF. It was time for a change.

In 2020, amidst a global pandemic, with bureaucracy and hefty fees as our companions, Erin finally sponsored me for a US green card through marriage. It was a long and arduous process, but we made it. I should be over the moon, but instead, fear creeps up my spine.

Just as I step foot back in the so-called land of the free, I realize that freedom ain’t what it used to be. The Human Rights Campaign reports a staggering 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures this year alone. Can you believe it? They range from absurdly restrictive gender-affirming treatment measures to book and drag show bans. It’s as if they want to snatch away every ounce of joy and self-expression we have!

If that isn’t enough, even Canada has issued a travel advisory to its LGBTQ+ citizens, warning them about the state of affairs south of the border. I can’t help but tremble at the thought of Roe v Wade getting overturned and Justice Clarence Thomas making worrisome remarks about revisiting same-sex marriage. I mean, what’s next? Are they going to tell us we can’t wear glitter and unicorn onesies anymore?

And don’t get me started on the gun violence. The Department of Homeland Security has reported a surge in violence against the LGBTQ+ community, and it’s not a pretty picture. Lives are being lost, and it terrifies me to my queer little bones. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Erin and I might have been safer in Singapore, a place where private gun ownership is a big no-no. How’s that for a plot twist?

But here I am, a brown queer person who has learned not to wait around for any one country to hand me the life I want. So, despite the uncertainties, I stand before you in America, daring to build my gay family without dodging bullets. Will it be easy? Definitely not. But if we can survive long-distance love in a global pandemic, we can survive anything.

So, my fellow fashion-loving friends, let’s show the world that love knows no boundaries, no closets, and no haters. Together, we can conquer the fashion world and remind everyone that style has no gender. Stay fabulous, stay fierce, and most importantly, stay proud. Love truly has no visa restrictions!

Note: This article is a fictionalized account inspired by the original content.