The progress of LGBT rights across the world is not fully uniform. While some places are welcoming of LGBT people, other areas have seen persecution LGBT individuals. This includes places like Chechnya, Kenya, and Central America. While fighting for LGBT rights in these places can and will continue, individuals from these areas are also facing serious threats to their safety and well-being. For those who come from these areas, going back can only bring them into danger. For these people, seeking asylum is often the best option so that they can lead a life of safety.
But seeking asylum is not as cut-and-dry as it sounds. It can be a difficult process, and there is a chance that the government rejects their application. If you want to show your support, here are some things that you can do.
Inform Your LGBT Immigrant Friends
The main problem with asylum is that many people don’t even know about that option. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association, there are still over 70 countries all over the world where the government can still arrest people for their sexuality. If you have an LGBT friend who comes from a country where being one is illegal, then you should inform them of this option. Sit your friend down with an immigration lawyer so that their case can get a proper evaluation. The government requires the submission of asylum applications within a year of a person’s arrival so you should get this issue cleared up as early as possible. If they are beyond the one-year deadline, your lawyer might be able to get them through using one of the several exemptions in the rules.
Consider Hosting Asylum Seekers
One of the issues that asylum seekers have is that they are cut off from many of their resources. With minimal funds, they can’t even get proper housing. You can help with that bu offering to host an asylum seeker in your home. Immigrants don’t have the usual support networks that people have. They can’t ask friends for a loan, nor can they sleep on the couch. This is because they don’t have any local friends. Without that safety net of friends and loved ones, many asylum seekers end up in homeless shelters and less than optimal places.
It will cost you a bit in terms of privacy and some increased expenses, but it can be worth it to provide some help to an LGBT individual. You might even develop life-long friendships with the one you host. It also highlights how far the country has come in its LGBT rights and can help you appreciate what you have right now.
Provide a Support Network
Asylum seekers are missing the network of friends and loved ones that many people have. This is an unfortunate side effect of moving to another country. If you want to help them out, you can be a part of their new support network. While monetary and physical help is a part of what this network can offer, the biggest assistance it can give is in the emotional department. Many asylum seekers feel alone and depressed. PTSD is not unheard-of in many of them. Giving them a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear can go a long way to healing their emotional scars. Besides your help, you should point them in the direction of mental health and counseling services that are available. Several non-profits can offer these for free. This can help improve their mental state and get them to a healthier place emotionally.
Volunteering and Donations
There are several non-profit groups out there that are doing their best to offer help to asylum seekers. You can do your part by offering both monetary and physical help. Immigration attorneys are not cheap, and many asylum seekers don’t have any money. Donating to these non-profits can help ensure that more LGBT individuals can get the legal help they need to get asylum.
If you do not have the funds or want to be more active, non-profits also accept volunteers. They might be looking for translators and interpreters so that asylum seekers with less-than-perfect English would understand things better. They might also need some administrative staff to help keep things running. Contributing your time to the cause of LGBT asylum seekers is a better use of time than staying at home.
LGBT asylum seekers need all the help that they can get when it comes to finding a safe place to live. Everyone deserves the right to be happy, and giving them the help they need is a worthy cause.