LGBT Asylum Seekers Win Life in U.S. After Persecution Abroad

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com November 21 2012 1:36 PM ET

More than 36,000 people were granted asylum in the United States last year, according to Homeland Security statistics reported by ABC News. Of those, 102 were LGBT people seeking refuge from antigay persecution in their home countries, an increasingly common reason to petition the U.S. government for residency.

According to the article, LGBT asylum-seekers most often hailed from Jamaica, with 32 people granted asylum in the U.S. last year. Since 1994 the United States has offered asylum to those persecuted in their homeland for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Focusing on the work of Immigration Equality, the article highlights the story of Korey Chisholm of Guyana, an AIDS activist who was infected with HIV when he was brutally raped at 16. Now 25 years old, Chisholm entered the U.S. on a tourist visa in 2011, and sought asylum based on the persecution he suffered in Guyana, including being taunted, denied public transportation, and refused medical care. Chisholm did not begin receiving treatment for his HIV until he arrived in the United States, reports the article.

"Getting transportation or just walking down the street for someone who is flamboyant or openly gay was very difficult," Chisholm told ABC. "Religious values play an important role in our country and the law is not as important as the Bible. If you are caught in the act, you face imprisonment and no one can help. You can't go to the police."

Read more here.