Jamaica is far from a safe place for LGBT people. While anti-gay laws aren’t as bad as some countries in the Middle East, sexual acts between two men can be punishable by up to 10 years in jail and anti-LGBT hate crimes are frequent. Despite that, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declared that one asylum-seeker isn’t bisexual enough for them to give him asylum in the United States.
The three-judge panel determined that 51-year-old Ray Fuller could be deported and wasn’t deserving of asylum because bisexuals aren’t persecuted in Jamaica and Fuller was lying about being a bisexual anyway.
Fuller’s case outlined that he has had both boyfriends and girlfriends, has been attacked and stoned once before for homosexual encounters, a homophobic mob sliced his face with a knife, he’s been robbed at gunpoint while being called anti-gay slurs, has been shot in the back and buttock by an anti-gay mob and has been disowned by his family. The majority of the judges upheld the immigration judge’s decision that because Fuller married a woman, he’s not bisexual, showing alarming ignorance about bisexuality.
Many bisexuals marry and they marry on both sides of the gender and sexuality spectrum. Some maintain a monogamous relationship with their same-sex or opposite-sex partner and others live in a polyamorous relationship where their partner allows them to have an outside relationship with a same-sex or opposite-sex partner. Unless asked, no one truly knows relationship situation or arrangement and living in an opposit-sex monogamous relationship doesn’t determine a bisexual person is suddenly heterosexual.
The biphobic ignorance on the judges’ part ignored that Fuller carried on same-sex relationships outside of his marriage to his wife. Oddly enough, the Circuit Court agreed that the initial immigration judge misunderstood the nature of bisexuality, but in the end, discrepancies in the story and the fact that none of Fuller’s lovers would testify lead to the judges upholding the lower court’s decision that Fuller wasn’t bisexual.
As Slate cites, Judge Posner wrote in his dissent that the immigration judge in the lower court “is oblivious” to the realities of bisexuality.
Instead he fastened on what are unquestionable, but trivial and indeed irrelevant, mistakes or falsehoods in Fuller’s testimony, for example that he “confused his sisters’ names, mixed up a sister with his mother, and gave different figures for the number of sisters that he had.” What this has to do with his sexual proclivities eludes me.
Posner continued that there have not been any reasons given for not believing Fuller.
Either by the immigration judge or by the majority opinion in this court, why if Fuller is not bisexual he would claim to be in an effort to remain in the United States, knowing that if he failed in his effort to remain he would be in grave danger of persecution when having lost his case he was shipped off to Jamaica. No doubt once back in Jamaica he could deny being bisexual—but no one who was either familiar with this litigation, or had been one of his persecutors before he left Jamaica for the United States, would believe (or at least admit to believing) his denial.
“The weakest part of the immigration judge’s opinion is its conclusion that Fuller is not bisexual,” Posner reasons. “A conclusion premised on the fact that he’s had sexual relations with women (including a marriage). Apparently, the immigration judge does not know the meaning of bisexual. The fact that he refused even to believe there is hostility to bisexuals in Jamaica suggests a closed mind and gravely undermines his critical finding that Fuller is not bisexual.”
With few options, Fuller will be deported any day now. Given the ability for anyone to Google someone’s history, there are now stories all over the internet about Fuller being out as a bisexual, which puts his life in danger.