I want to leave Tunisia for a country that allows gay marriage


Hi Media,

Thank you for writing to Alterheros.

I would like to answer your question, to the best of my knowledge and opinion, in 4 points. I would first like to address the cultural situation you live in, in Tunisia. Then we could discuss your friendship with your best friend, and finally answer the questions about “if being gay means you're a “slut”, and the question of you finding a partner. Please remember that there is no absolute answer, and my main goal is to suggest a point of view for your pondering.

You know, usually whenever I encounter a problem in my life and don't know what decision to take, I usually let my heart guide me. I am the same age as you are, and so far, following my heart has worked for me. I want to congratulate you for trying to do the same. From your message, I understand that it is sometimes very difficult.

In your situation, following your heart is not the only decisive factor; there are external factors, like your cultural and political context. These are things that you cannot change, but you can decide how you react to it. In a sense, I hope it will help you to think that way, because it gives you some power. I understand from my readings that you are treated differently because of cultural, political and religious reasons and factors. However, even in other parts of the world, even where Homosexuality is not illegal, homosexuals are sometimes treated differently. Do you know why? I think it is because some people are scared of difference and the unknown. I personally think it is ok to be scared of difference, because it is a feeling, and you cannot control it; in the sense that it is ok to feel any feeling. But I think it is absolutely wrong to persecute people who are different. I wish I could tell you to follow your heart and be who you are no matter what, but in your context, because of this feeling of separation between what is “different” and not different, what is legal and what is not, you have to think of your safety first.

So my heart tells me to advise you to stay friends with your best friend, for the simple reason that he is your best friend. However you do not say what you mean by the “so many troubles”, but my brain and reason urge me to advise you to think of your safety first. I think there is a way of letting a friend know that you are there for them, and that you care for them, without being next to them physically all the time. I suggest you communicate your concerns to him, and you will both find a way that makes life easier and more enjoyable for you both if you are open with each other. It can be as simple as starting with “Hey, you are my best friend, and I hope you know that. But there are things I want to discuss with you, solutions that we should try to come up with so that we can both be safe while standing up for each other”. Odds are, he will appreciate your honesty, and this might make your friendship stronger.

As for your question: Does being gay means “I’m a slut”? I want to reply NO, of course not! I’m not sure what you mean by “slut”, but all I want to say is simple: your being gay means what YOU want it to mean. You define who you are, and your sexual orientation is only part of your personality: there is so much more to identity: for example, your values, your priorities, your past experiences, your choices. All of these contribute to your strength. There are heterosexual people who are “sluts”, and I don’t think it’s because of their gender preference. In both hetero and homosexual people, there are those who are slutty and those who are not. Their sexual preferences are not what makes turns them into sluts. This has something more to do with their moral beliefs and how they interact with other people. This spans people who are gay, straight or other!

You also ask if “you should give up” because you are concerned about not finding a partner. My opinion is NO! don't give up. Never give up. Never give up on who you are and what you need to make you happy. I have been single myself for three years, and it is a personal choice: I want to be patient and find the right person that fits me and who I am. So my advice is: be patient. I know your context is difficult, and it pains me to read your message. But what I want to convey to you is that you should always be proud of who you are. Because life is beautiful and life is short, and there is no time to waste on feeling ashamed. Stay strong. Being emotionally strong is a very attractive quality.

Now about the second question you sent to Alterheros. which deals more about the legal aspects of moving to another country for a same-sex marriage.

You mention moving to Europe to be with a man you might marry to get you out of the current “hell” you are living in. Is this a man you already know (perhaps via the Internet?) or were you saying this just as a potential option, hypothetically? If you are already in contact with someone in particular and have spoken to him about your idea (or maybe it was HIS idea), how well do you know this person? Be careful that you don’t lock yourself into a relationship with someone you hardly know. There are a lot of weird people lurking on the Internet, one can never tell if they are who they claim to be. Your safety is a priority, especially if you are leaving the country which already made you feel unsafe. If you decide to move somewhere else, make sure that the new environment IS safe, otherwise, what would be the point, right?

Another reason I say don’t rush into a marriage, is that perhaps if you move to a country where homosexuality is legal, and get to know some of the locals, you might find yourself attracted to someone, without pre-planning it before you arrive in that country. Maybe you will meet someone who could potentially become your boyfriend, and then you could take your time to enjoy his company, without the pressures of thinking about marriage right away.

I don’t know the laws of your country, but would they make you state that the reason for your departure is for a same-sex marriage? I imagine you could probably say you just want to change environments, discover a new country, etc. This marriage doesn’t necessarily need to be mentioned to get the visa, does it? Depending the way your country’s laws work, it might be best to not tell them you want the visa because you are gay. Since it is illegal where you live, they COULD punish you, but I really can’t say for sure. That is why, if you can ask for asylum or for a visa without mentioning that you are gay, this might work a little better.

What you might like to do is speak to someone with legal knowledge in the country where you hope to move. You can explore the options of the different countries you have in mind. Perhaps they can advise you about how to obtain your visa without getting penalized in your home country.

To give you some tips, I’ve collected a bit of info on the Internet about same-sex marriage laws in various ‘safe’ countries, should you find a man willing to help you out and marry you according to his own country’s laws:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Sweden

http://www.visabureau.com/canada/same-sex-partner.aspx

http://same-sex-gay-marriage.suite101.com/article.cfm/immigrating_to_the_united_kingdom

In the same way, you can also search the Internet about general immigration laws (unrelated to gay marriage), including the rules for your own country. There is a lot of information out there to help you! At Alterheros, we try as much as we can to help, according to our knowledge, but the best is always to get the info directly from legal websites, or immigration web pages.

Hang in there, and believe in yourself. Don’t give up!

Sincerely,

Julie and Dee, for Alterheros

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