With members of the international LGBT community facing persecution and impending death, it’s no surprise that the numbers of LGBT refugees fleeing to the US continues to increase.
What’s notable is that these LGBT refugees often cannot connect with their respective immigrant and religious communities in the US because they’re ostracized based on their LGBT status. They enter the US with no safety net.
The Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM) is working to change that.
ORAM has released the first ever guide for American LGBT and accepting communities to welcome people fleeing persecution in their home countries.
More after the jump.
According to ORAM, “Rainbow Bridges, a 48-page guide developed in a pilot project to resettle LGBT refugees in San Francisco, offers practical step-by-step guidance on welcoming new refugees, ensuring their mental and physical well-being, and helping them find support in their new communities.”
Neil Grungras, Executive Director of ORAM, states, “There are immediate ways those of us in the U.S. can support members of our LGBT community facing persecution overseas. Uniting in support of queer asylum seekers and refugees is a powerful way of building community and reversing homophobia.”
Buchi Miles-Tuck speaks from experience. He fled from his native Nigeria two days before he was going to be killed for being gay. Unfortunately he arrived in the US with no real community to turn to.
He says, “LGBT refugees need a different reception for our differences and culture. If I were not gay, I would have easily been accepted into the African-American community and offered the services I needed; instead I faced further discrimination and restricted resources. If you have support from the LGBT community, you can get off the plane and experience how to be free in your own skin.”
We feel like the work ORAM is doing is really worthwhile. What do you think, Instincters?
Rainbow Bridges, which includes sample forms, a suggested code of conduct, and outlines the avenues for refugees to receive housing, employment, and federal assistance, is available here.