As trump has taken away our home

We wrote this together, because we have something in common. Some things are quite obvious. We came to the United States as a child, fleeing from Communist regimes. And we are lesbians. We also cry, we come into a rage at the actions of the new American President. But another one of our similarities is less noticeable. Because of this rage and despair we both feel like lose your home.

Once Mary spent the evening in Berlin, sociologist and philosopher, attempting to define the word “home”. All three of them more than half of his life in six different countries, and each considered their at least two languages. Circumstances such as country of birth, length of stay, and native language didn’t matter. There are other features: a sense of security, proximity, certainty of space. The direct opposite of those feelings is the feeling that you got from under your feet and pull the carpet.

President trump has sown fear in our homes. We both are married to women who do not have American citizenship (they are Russian and have your green card). Also we educate children, some of whom are U.S. citizens, and some don’t. Most Americans have no idea about the existence of a hierarchy of security in the environment of immigrants. Holders of permanent green cards are better protected than those of the temporary. A person can be deprived of political asylum and refugee status with only one stroke of the pen. Most vulnerable asylum seekers as thousands of people are in the country legally waiting for interviews or decisions on their application, however, can lose the right to stay in the U.S. for whatever reason. Many in the case of forced repatriation threatens violence and even death. In such a hierarchy, our partners and children are protected better than others, but the feeling of danger is still seeping into our homes, which we no longer feel like home.

Martin came to America at 18 years of age, when he was still in school. But she was a tennis player of world level. A few months earlier the government of Czechoslovakia forbade her to go to the U.S. Open. Then they reversed that decision, however, arose at Martina’s feeling of helplessness was enough, so she asked for political asylum, arrived in the United States. The prospect that the authorities will decide to compete her or not, scared Martin more than the fear of living in a foreign country away from their parents, which she could never see. She knew that America is the land of freedom.

Mary, too, knew it from childhood. The parents brought her to the United States at the age of 14. She’s never been to America, but although Mary left behind everything I knew, coming to the U.S. for her was akin to a homecoming. She grew up in a family of writers, and the freedom to read and write was an extremely important event, is fascinated by her in America. For Martina freedom of speech was also very important in her views about America. She loved to tell jokes, but not always correctly assess their students. So she wanted to avoid political persecution for failure sometimes humor. In addition, Martina was a secret she could not reveal in Czechoslovakia. She liked women.

As it turned out, freedom of speech in America, too, had their limitations. Immigration policy, preserved from the early twentieth century and enshrined in the 1952 immigration Act and nationality, demanded the deportation “of people with sexual deviations”, as it was a “psychopathic personality”. The office of immigration and naturalization, which in 1950-e and 1960-e years were deported dozens of people every year, has stopped actively hunting for homosexuals, but open to gay and bisexual citizenship is still not provided. Martin got it in 1981, but at that moment the Women’s tennis Association asked her not to admit their sexual orientation. Women’s sport was rocked by the scandal and sponsors threatened to stop funding. And she began to wait (but some journalists — no).

Mary decided to fight against homophobic immigration and naturalization, when in 1989 he applied for citizenship. She wrote a letter in which he said that she is a lesbian, but does not consider himself a “psychopathic personality. She had intended to go to court, expecting that she will say no; however, her nationality is still given. The following year the immigration law provisions against homosexuals was finally cancelled. Masha said the citizenship of civil disobedience in front of the immigration and naturalization service in new York, protesting against the ban on entry to USA of people with HIV, for which she was arrested.

From Martina path to coming-out was long. In 1993, she finally spoke at the March of gays and lesbians in Washington. The crowd welcomed her violently. Wherever she went that day, people all around her congratulated. It would seem that the woman, several years, establishing the record for the most important international tournaments in singles and doubles, have to get used to the admiration of the crowd. But with her it was different. Her play was criticized, calling it too hard, her individual style was considered too aggressive, and the audience almost always sides with its rivals, which were invariably more feminine. And suddenly she had a feeling she had never experienced on the court, and that she is already beginning to seem impossible. Having lived in America for 18 years, she finally felt at home.

It turns out that we’re here for hope. Not a hope that we will immediately find a home in America, and the expectation of freedom, allowing to make America their home. This process necessarily involves the freedom to fight for change in America, so she took us and signed up in his arms. However, not only us but also like us and unlike us, people who carried with them changes. This hope is brought in the United States more than 42 million people from other countries, or 13 percent of the population. And this hope are now trying to steal from us the tramp, suspend the program for refugees, forbade to let the country people of the seven predominantly Muslim countries, set out to build a wall on the border with Mexico, allowing the White house to the xenophobic statements, believing that his idea of “America first” somehow means that everyone who was not born in the United States, it is impossible to start up here.

Most of all from politics trump hurt people who truly need immediate asylum. And in the future will suffer tens of millions of other people who grew up or are growing up with the idea that somewhere there is a country of freedom, which could be a home for them. Most of them would never have gone to the US, but they feel safer thanks to the American tradition to welcome immigrants. It is an ideal that never was implemented fully, but which had hitherto been essential to America.

One in four people in the United States is an immigrant or the son/daughter of an immigrant. Most people in this country are immigrants or their descendants. If they — if we — do not act against trump, we too will lose their home, even continuing to live here.

Masha Gessen — columnist, author of “the Man without a face: the incredible rise of Vladimir Putin” and other works.

Martina Navratilova — tennis player, writer and human rights activist.