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The bad news
My partner Mauricio was denied a visa to come to the USA, for a second time.


The good news
We have decided to make a life together in Berlin. I have a new job as a director at a great center for contemporary dance and physical theater in Potsdam on the southwest edge of Berlin. (www.fabrikpotsdam.de) We will be moving to Berlin on August 4.


The longer version

So what brought all this about?

In November of 2000 I met a man in Rio de Janeiro. His name is Mauricio Novais. We fell in love. I have since then been to Brazil to be with him eight times, for periods ranging from two weeks to three months. Additionally, we traveled together in Italy for three weeks in 2001, and worked together on a performance project in Germany for a month in the summer of 2002. He has tried to come to the US, but he has not been allowed. A little over a year ago Mauricio applied for a tourist visa to come here. He was turned down. Like me, he is a gay artist, working in dance and theater, and scrambles to make a living. Our consulate looks for "proof of ties to his country". This would be a wife and children, a full time job, ownership of a house, and a lot of money in the bank. He’s a gay and an artist and has none of these (just like me). His application was refused. (Fortunately for me my first-world-privilege means no one ever asks me for these.)We decided this year to try again, with a different approach. We had the pro bono advice of two immigration attorneys in Minneapolis. On May 15, 2003 Mauricio had an interview at the US Consulate in Rio as part of his application for a student visa. He had been accepted to study English at the Minnesota English Center at the U of M. My brother had agreed to sponsor him. He had a letter explaining that he is an apprentice with a professional dance company based in Rio, a company which tours internationally, and will be a full time company member as of January 1, 2004. He was going to study here from September through December. Our consular officials asked him why a dancer needs to learn English, and suggested he stay in Brazil to learn English. Visa denied. $195 spent applying down the drain.If there were true equality in this country, I would be able to apply to bring Mauricio into this country as my life partner, as any heterosexual can. We would not have to resort to tourist and student visas.As it now stands, I am forced to choose between living in this community, which I love, and being with the man I love. I wish I could stay, but I am leaving for love. This is sad and unfair. It will be a great loss for me and for our community.

I have contributed much to our community in my lifetime. Among my contributions to our community are:

Over thirty years of performing on stages ranging from the Walker and Guthrie to the Southern and Illusion Theaters, to scores of schools across the state
Creation of Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis
Development of the Science Museum of Minnesota’s outreach program, Museum on the Move
Original development of the Museum Magnet School in the St. Paul Schools
Contribution of my papers to the Tretter Collection at the Andersen Library at the University of MN

At my age, forty-nine, I figure I have contributed about half of what I have to give. I would love to have the opportunity to continue to make such contributions in Minnesota, and to be able to live with my partner at the same time.

I sent a letter explaining all this to both Senator Mark Dayton, and Representative Martin Sabo, encouraging them to get the Partners Immigration Bill passed. Rep. Sabo responded, he is a co-sponsor of the bill, and wants to get it passed.

Unfortunately, it seems first we will require regime change here. Canada’s recent embrace of gay marriage makes clear how far we have to go in this country to have truly equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens.

All of this has required me to lead a double track life since last fall. That is when Mauricio and I decided to make a life together. Plan A, our first choice, was to try again to get a visa for Mauricio into the US. Plan B was to move to Europe. Knowing that there was a good chance that Plan A would fail, I lived my life doing what I could to provide for both options. That included arranging to participate in the dance festival at the fabrik/Potsdam in May and June, 2003. The visa was denied a week before I left for the festival. That was fortunate. I went knowing that I would be teaching and performing, seeing many shows, and simultaneously I would be attempting to make connections and lay a foundation for our arrival and building a life together.

I tried not to worry. I remembered the sign on my mentor Remy Charlip’s office wall; Worry is praying for the worst. I tried to imagine good things. Things turned out better than I had dreamed possible. I was offered a job as a director at fabrik/Potsdam, the theater where the festival was held. I found an apartment for us in Potsdam in August, and another sublet for September through November in Berlin. The job offer is the result of a nurtured relationship. I first performed at fabrik/Potsdam in November of 1992. I stayed in touch with the folks there over the years. Mauricio and I visited there last summer. Now I will be working there. fabrik/Potsdam is a center for contemporary dance and performance. It has a theater seating 200 people, 2 dance studios, an aikido dojo, 6 guestrooms for artists, a bar/café and a beer garden, as well as the necessary offices and tech/support areas. It is located on the shore of the Havel River, and a five-minute bike ride away there is a beautiful nude beach. The center of Berlin is a 20 minute train ride from Potsdam.Clearly there will be challenges, but I am excited to meet them. This job will do more than provide a base for building my life with Mauricio. It will allow me to build on my previous work as a performer, director of a theater, and lover of languages. It will pull together more aspects of my self than I have ever had in a job, and that is saying a lot. It will allow me to shift from working on growing the local arts community to having an international focus. The timing here is critical. The hostile attitude of the current US administration (best understood as wanting to create the world’s largest gated community) threatens to severely isolate progressive artists in this country. I hope to be in a position to connect US artists to a broader global community. It will be essential for artists from the US to go abroad to maintain global dialogue, because many international artists are choosing not to come here. They are no longer willing to subject themselves to the hostile treatment they routinely encounter in US Consulates and Embassies in order to come here. The saddest truth is that as a foreigner in Germany I have more right to live with the man I love, than I have as a citizen in my own country. The most joyful truth is the universe has revealed a poetic design to all of this. I left Patrick’s Cabaret explaining "I am more of a ship builder than a captain. This ship has weathered a few tough storms, and is now tight and seaworthy. It is time for a captain, and for me to find new ships to build." I left the cabaret not knowing where I was headed. The name of the street where I’ll be working at the fabrik/Potsdam is Schiffbauergasse. Ship Builders’ Alley. I hope you will come to one of the upcoming shows. I hope you will come to the party, and buy something. It will help me to afford to come back to visit. It will be good to see you. I look forward to staying in touch. I look forward to having guests.With much joy and anger,

Patrick Scully

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