Across the United States, people of all backgrounds are reacting with outrage in light of the Administration’s announcement that people who attempt to seek asylum outside of ports of entry will be denied the right to this protection.
On Sunday, November 11th, an estimated 78 LGBTQ asylum seekers reached the United States border in hopes of escaping persecution in Central America. Originally traveling with a larger group from Honduras, they left the caravan after experiencing discrimination and threats from others. Many LGBTQ migrants were denied food and access to showers by caravan members or local groups providing aid. "There was no physical abuse but there was plenty of verbal abuse," a transgender woman told reporters, although she added it was nothing compared to the reality of living as a transgender woman in her home country of Honduras.
As they await the opportunity to begin the asylum process in Tijuana, the group continues to be targeted simply for being part of the LGBTQ community. They were met with anger from locals, who said they should have been warned by authorities that LGBTQ people would be staying in their neighborhood.
Members of the group originate from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, and include a handful of children. Most plan to use their status as members of a persecuted class to request asylum in the U.S. as early as Thursday.
Unfortunately, the government reacts to their plight with armed forces and threats of denying entry to begin the asylum process, essentially signing their death orders. LGBTQ people flee to the U.S. because they cannot live safely in their home countries. They are in danger of persecution, prosecution, imprisonment, blackmail, discrimination, torture, sexual assault and in some cases, death based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
If LGBTQ asylum seekers are granted the opportunity to have their case heard, they can be detained until trial, which may take months. In detention centers, transgender women are often housed with men or placed in solitary confinement. LGBTQ immigrants report high rates of sexual assault and abuse during their time in detention, and proper medical care is often denied.
These asylum seekers have faced challenges and painful barriers in receiving equal treatment during every step of their journey. The undersigned LGBTQ Community Centers strongly support them in their quest for a better life and demand that they be treated fairly and equitably as they seek their legal right to asylum.
Adair Co. GLBT Resource Center
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Center on Halsted
Freedom House Detroit
Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center
GALA LGBTQ+ Center
Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center
Latino Equality Alliance
LGBT Center OC
LGBT Center of Central PA
LGBT Center of Raleigh
LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County
Los Angeles LGBT Center
North County LGBTQ Resource Center
Open Arms Rape Crisis Center & LGBT+ Services
Pride Center at Equality Park
Pride Center San Antonio
PRISM-Q, LGBT & Allies Resource Center
Proud Haven Inc.
Ruth Ellis Center
Sacramento LGBT Community Center
Safe Schools South Florida
San Francisco LGBT Center
Tacoma Older LGBT
The DC Center for the LGBT Community
The Pride Center at Equality Park
The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
Triangle Community Center