A handful of Guyanese from the LGBT community, who hold visas under a previous policy that had allowed them to enter the US at the patronage of their American same-sex partners, will have to leave the United States by December 31st, unless the legal status of their LGBT union has changed.
Not only Guyanese will be affected, but members of the LGBT community from all over the world.
While the policy is mostly directed to the largest lot of beneficiaries of this visa privilege – Diplomats, it is actually meant to be applied across-the-board to ordinary persons too, even though they hardly secure this type of visa, according to the State Department.
Reversing an Obama-era policy that was being enjoyed by gay partnerships, the Donald Trump Administration says that it is immediately revoking that policy which had allowed for sponsored visas to be granted to same-sex partners, by halting the granting of visas to gay partners of Diplomats.
Several news reports including one from CNN (see HERE) has confirmed that the new policy has taken effect as of yesterday (Monday 1st October).
The ban on partners of persons within the Diplomatic community has, however, come as a shock to many in the LGBT community, citing the fact that the United States already has liberal laws that are conducive to the needs of same-sex unions.
But to others, it is nothing new, citing President’s Trump perceived non-supportive stance on a number of Gay rights issues.
From moving to ban transgender people from the US military to cutting funding for numerous programs aimed at helping the LGBT community, Trump has maintained a relatively tough stance when it comes to LGBT rights.
Previously, Diplomats from other countries who are involved in same-sex partnerships could have caused their partner to come to the United States under their patronage. But now, the US government would have none of it.
Under the new requirements explained by the US Department of State, a person must be legally married in order to be considered for a visa as a spouse.
But several LGBT agencies are saying that the Donald-Trump era new rules would put the gay community at a greater disadvantage, since more than 90% of the countries around the world that are under UN membership does not recognize same-sex marriages.
This means the visa privilege that was originally offered to same-sex relationships have been seriously curtailed.
But the US Department of State has argued that only a small number of people will be affected, since same-sex parties requesting visas under the patronage of the other is very low.
Alfonso Nam, president of the UN LGBTQI advocacy organization UN-GLOBE was quoted as saying that “I’m worried about is those staff members who have difficulties going to a country that performs same-sex marriages … in order to fulfil this requirement”.