Do we ask everyone to accept us for who we are? It would be nice, but trying to convince everyone that we are human may be a losing battle. Even if some politicians have a hard time saying the letters L, G, B, & T, they must know what the letters mean, no? But a judge, you would think a person that has reached the rank of judge, especially a circuit court judge, would comprehend what is meant when someone identifies as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person, right? Well, that has just been proven to be a hope and not a reality.
The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals this week denied a petition from a Jamaican immigrant, 51-year-old Ray Fuller, for relief from an order sending him back to Jamaica where he feared being persecuted and tortured due to his bisexuality.
Fuller’s fear of persecution was not theoretical; he provided evidence of having been the victim of violent harassment in Jamaica because of his sexual orientation, including having his face sliced with a knife while being taunted for being “gay,” being the victim of a stoning by fellow college students, being shot at and, after being shot at, being kicked out of his home by his family rather than supported.
In denying his petition for relief, the immigration judge not only expressed skepticism that bisexuals are persecuted in Jamaica, but also concluded that Fuller is not really bisexual, largely because of his relationships with women. She rejected as not credible all seven letters Fuller had provided from children and friends attesting to his bisexuality, including two ex-boyfriends.
In a scathing dissent, Judge Posner criticized the Fuller v. Lynch majority opinion for affirming the ruling of the immigration judge and Board of Immigration Appeals (which had affirmed the judge’s ruling), the effect of which is to perpetuate harmful misconceptions about bisexuals and the dangers they face.
The weakest part of the immigration judge’s opinion is its conclusion that Fuller is not bisexual, 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 she refused even to believe there is hostility to bisexuals in Jamaica suggests a closed mind and gravely undermines her critical finding that Fuller is not bisexual. – lambdalegal.org
For more on why Judge Posner’s dissent is spot on, head over to lambdalegal.org, where
First, the immigration judge’s conclusion that bisexuals do not face persecution in Jamaica is disturbingly ill-informed.
Second, the singling out of bisexuality for additional skepticism reveals a profound lack of understanding about bisexuality.
What do you think?
Should Fuller be sent back?
Should the judge be questioned about her knowledge of … well … everything?
Or do you think Fuller was trying to pull a fast one on the court system to stay here in the US?