Letter to the Editor: Goodbye Falls Church City

I married for love and moved to the city a few good years ago. The sun was on my street and I envisioned a bright future, a lot of happiness, peace and joy. There was nothing that could possibly be in the way: no health problems, no old parents to care for, no dependent kids, no financial problems, but just two love birds who decided to spend the rest of their life together. It was a happy beginning, but the ending, not so happy. My spouse’s family xenophobic and homophobic feelings eroded our love and I ended up being isolated from friends and family and told to leave. I returned to Arlington, but I hold Falls Church City in my heart, a beautiful city, and a wonderful community.

It seems hard to believe such a thing can happen in a wonderful and liberal city, located in the Washington DC area. The story is real, but no names are provided out of respect for privacy. The purpose of this story is to raise awareness of negative feelings that can destroy lives. In the workplace there is legislation that protects individuals against discrimination, but not inside a family. While at work, individuals cannot discriminate based on origin, race, color, sexual orientation, or gender; at home, inside families, discrimination is practiced at scale.

I wasn’t born in the US, but at the time I got married, I was a US citizen with a successful career. My spouse’s family didn’t welcome me, one adult child refused to come to the wedding, and other family members were very reserved in terms of accepting and supporting our marriage, which they considered a second-grade marriage, given the fact that we were married before.

When I had health problems, my spouse’s family asked my spouse to send me back to my home country. At that time, I realized that xenophobia is the main reason I was rejected. I have three master’s degrees and countless certifications, however, I was always considered inferior.

During our marriage, my adult child, a Princeton University graduate, with a successful career, decided to become transgender. My spouse and his family’s homophobia showed up at the beginning of transition and culminated with my spouse saying, “if your child ever comes to my house, I will call the police to make an arrest for trespassing.” My child couldn’t come visit me; even though I lived in that house. My friends couldn’t visit me, either. There were no holidays, or birthdays celebrated together, or if they were, I wasn’t invited. Behind closed doors xenophobia and homophobia still exists. It should have no place in Falls Church City or anywhere else.

Name Withheld Upon Request