“My name is Krysta Gonzales. I am a 27-year-old lesbian woman of color who currently resides in Austin, Texas…I recently fell in love with a woman who is a Brazilian national, Beatriz Motta, and she is my life-partner. In less than a week, she will have to leave the United States.”

So began my open letter back in March to U.S. officials in an effort to add my voice to the thousands of other voices calling for equal protections for same-sex couples who wish to have their union recognized by the federal government.

I challenged them to imagine life without their partner or someone very important – just for a moment.

“You are dictating the course of the lives of people whom you’ve never even met. Their lives. Their livelihoods. My life. My livelihood,” I continued. “I could never carry that weight. But you were called and you were chosen. And I’m holding you responsible. You must carry the weight. You must carry my weight next week when I watch the love of my life disappear into an airport crowd.”

Despite growing up on opposite sides of the world, we met in October 2011 at a local coffee shop in Austin, Texas after exchanging messages on an online dating site. Bea, a Brazilian national from Alphaville, came to Texas in late 2010. I found my way to Austin in summer 2009 by way of New York, Dallas and El Paso.

It wasn’t until three months later that we began dating and quickly fell in love. But Bea had to return to Brazil in April 2012 upon the expiration of her work visa – especially if she hoped to ever legally enter the United States again.

Those unfamiliar with U.S. federal policy often ask, “Well, couldn’t you have just gone to Iowa and get married?”

We could have.  However the federal government oversees immigration and does not recognize the freedom to marry or grant the same protections to same-sex couples. If we were to enter into any kind of partnership or marriage, I still would not be able to petition for sponsorship for Bea to stay in the country.

We are currently sustaining our relationship and working to raise awareness about Immigration Equality and the injustice of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). As we continue the difficult tasks at hand (fighting for equal protections while maintaining a healthy, loving long-distance relationship), we have transformed an ugly situation into something loving by creating a blog titled: Love Finds a Way.

We write about our trials and triumphs in separate countries as well as the profound love we have for one another that cannot be shaken by the 5,020 miles between Alphaville and Austin. We hope our blog is a reminder to all…those in similar situations…and those facing a different sort of adversity…that love does conquer all.

 – Krysta Gonzales

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