In many countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons face mistreatment, severe harm and persecution for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Individuals belonging to the LGBT community can seek asylum based upon their membership in an at-risk population.
People who genuinely fear persecution if they were to return to their native countries can fill out an application to demonstrate their need for governmental protections.
Many protected social groups, including LGBT individuals, can apply for asylum in the United States. LGBT people are an at-risk population because of the high levels of violence and abuse experienced in many areas of the world. Some nations heavily criminalize consensual same-sex acts.
Those seeking asylum must demonstrate that they are subject to persecution if they return. This includes anti-LGBT sentiments, discrimination and conduct that may be very harmful to the individual such as going against his or her deepest beliefs by remaining “closeted.”
To apply for asylum, one must fill out an Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal (Form I-589), submit a declaration that shows that the applicant meets all the asylum requirements and supporting evidence, including reputable sources. Within one year of fleeing to the United States, individuals must begin their application.
In considering any asylum claims, the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services look at several factors: whether he or she is a part of the LGBT community, if the harm in the asylee’s home country is persecution and whether this persecution is because the individual identifies as LGBT.
After the government grants the person asylum, voluntary resettlement agencies step in and assist LGBT asylees find support as they start their new lives.