Of sixteen students accepted by Lane Community College since 2010 -- four of them this year -- Sultana is the first to be denied a visa by Consular officers in Astana and Almaty.Read those words again and let them sink in. In what way did Sultana differ from other Kazakhstani students accepted by Lane? Were Sultana's finances that much different from those of 15 others? Were her ties to Kazakhstan that much weaker? I don't think so. It will take strong documentary evidence in the form of a spreadsheet comparing these characteristics for all Lane students to convince me that Sultana differs significantly. I only know of two ways in which Sultana stands out from others: 1) She is tall, and 2) She is transgender. I put my money on the second as being the characteristic that led Consuls to refuse her visa on the grounds that she is an intending immigrant, the catch-all category of refusal that is used by Consuls when an applicant does not meet their criteria, a catch-all that in the end can mean almost anything. As anyone who knows Sultana can assure you – as I can assure you -- an intending immigrant is one thing Sultana most definitely is not. Her life now and in the future is firmly rooted in Kazakhstan.
For the record: I have seen no evidence of transphobia or LGBT phobia -- or any other forms of discrimination -- in our consular sections.Dear Colleague, despite my great respect for you and other colleagues in our Mission, I beg to disagree. The triple refusal of an F-1 student visa to Ms. Sultana Kali is discriminatory. I say that even if our Consular colleagues had no realization that they judged Ms. Kali through the rose colored glasses of transphobia when adjudicating her visa application.
For the record: I have seen no evidence of transphobia or LGBT phobia – or any other forms of discrimination -- in our consular sectionsDo you see now why I disagree with you and strenuously so? By applying the criteria used for the majority cisgender population and denying a visa to Ms. Kali, the interviewing Consuls did discriminate against a transgender person. Their decisions were based on criteria that are transphobic by definition. Saying that the Consuls were simply applying the law does not make the result any less discriminatory or transphobic.