By Michael O'Loughlin
Originally published on Advocate.com March 07 2014 3:20 PM ET
Several Christian pastors in Chicago have formed a group to fighting for displaced LGBT Africans seeking asylum in the U.S., reports Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM TV.
Dennis Akpona, one of the cofounders of CLASP, Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program, said that he first came to the U.S. in 2012 to attend an AIDS conference, but feared for his life if he was forced to return to Nigeria.
“My life was at risk. I needed a safe place to be. USA is less homophobic,” Akpona told WBBM.
A former Catholic priest who helped set up the organization has opened his home to those seeking asylum in the U.S.
John Ademola Adewoye said he currently houses five people and knows of 20 others living in Chicago who are seeking asylum. He told WBBM that his "life as a gay man was dark" in Nigeria.
Another cofounder, Rev. Lois Parr, a Methodist minister, said the group hopes to build an asylum house someday.
“A dream would be to have a house; a house that could be a safe house, an asylum house," she said.
Recent laws passed in Uganda and Nigeria allow for harsh sentences, in some cases up to life in prison, for those found guilty of being gay.