In re S.H.
S.H. is a lesbian from Bosnia who came to the United States in 2006 to escape the oppressive and abusive conditions she faced because of her sexual orientation in her home country. While vacationing with her girlfriend in another town, a group of men found out that they were lesbians and raped them. The police initially took a report but later that night told the two women that they had to leave town. The police blamed the women for the assault and accused them of trying to cause problems in a small town. After the rape, S.H. told her mother about her sexual orientation, and her mother turned her back on S.H. and refused to talk to her.
In re Eduardo
Eduardo is a transgender man from Mexico. When he was a child, his parents often verbally and physically abused him in an attempt to alter his gender identity. After enduring this physical and verbal abuse, Eduardo left his home town for another city in Mexico. He was able to obtain a degree in order to work as a teacher, but he was often harassed because he presented himself as a male, while his ID identified him as female.
In re Vicky
Vicky is a young transgender woman from Mexico. Throughout her childhood, Vicky’s family and the people in her small town attacked her for her femininity. When she was 16, Vicky came home from school to find that her parents had abandoned her. She fled to the United States in 1994. In 1997, she began living as a woman. In 2003, she was detained by the Phoenix police and deported to Mexico. Vicky sought out her family, hoping for reconciliation, but instead her brothers beat her.
In re Angelica
Angelica was born in Mexico City to a family that raised her with the expectation that she would get married and have children. Her family was also extremely controlling and abusive. She was not permitted to participate in any activities outside of the home and was physically abused throughout her childhood. When a rumor spread at her school that she had been spotted kissing a girl, in addition to being terrified of her family’s reaction, Angelica began facing regular harassment and even physical assaults by classmates and men from her neighborhood. After a young gay man from the neighborhood was viciously murdered, Angelica fled to the U.S.
Victory! (El Salvador)
In re Barbara
Born male in El Salvador, Barbara was abused throughout her childhood by family, neighbors, and classmates because she was “too feminine.” When Barbara turned 18, she began to live as a woman, but she still suffered frequent harassment and violence. In one instance, Barbara and her boyfriend were viciously beaten outside of a club. Barbara was kidnapped and taken to an isolated area where she was physically and sexually assaulted. After the kidnapping and assault, Barbara lived in constant fear, and finally fled to the U.S.
John Doe v. Alberto Gonzales
John Doe, a gay man from Egypt, applied for asylum based on anti-gay persecution he suffered in Egypt, where gay men are frequently arrested and subjected to brutal physical mistreatment for private, non-commercial, consensual adult sexual conduct. The Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals denied his application. NCLR and the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission filed an amicus brief in support of Doe’s eligibility for withholding of removal and relief from removal under the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
In re M.G.
M.G. is a gay man from Mexico who came to the United States fleeing physical abuse from gangs and extortion by the police. When his mother died when he was 17, M.G. faced more physical violence from his father and his oldest brother because of his sexual orientation. Feeling desperate, he moved out and was homeless until he was eventually taken in by a neighbor in his small town of Mixquiahuala de Juarez. This neighbor treated him like a son and gave him shelter, food, and protection. Nevertheless, her sons were unhappy about M.G. staying there and would not allow him to eat at the table with them or enter their homes. By the time he was 20, he left and headed for the capital, where he found a job in an auto shop.
In re M.Q.
M.Q. is a native and citizen of Mexico. When M.Q. was a child, his father often accused him of being a “sissy,” and as he grew up, M.Q. was physically assaulted many times by his family, peers, and police because he was gay. One gang of teenage boys who had beaten M.Q. threatened him and told him that if they ever saw him again, they would kill him. In December 2003, M.Q. encountered them again and barely escaped alive. M.Q. fled Mexico, and arrived in the U.S. in January 2004. Although he was afraid to return to Mexico, M.Q. went back once in May 2005 to see his eldest sister, who was dying. M.Q. re-entered the United States in August 2006, and applied for asylum with help of NCLR. After 2 years of waiting, M.Q. was granted asylum in September 2008.
In re Marta
Marta is a transgender woman from Mexico who suffered unthinkable verbal, physical, and sexual abuse because of her sexual orientation and gender identity. The abuse began in her youth when she was abducted by a group of armed men. When her brother came to rescue her, he was shot to death in front of her. When the police arrived, Marta was arrested for refusing to give them the names of the men who had abducted her. She was put in jail for several days where she was raped by the police. After that, she became a frequent target of the police, and when placed in jail for not paying a bribe, she was detained for days at a time and repeatedly raped while imprisoned.
Victory! (Saudi Arabia)
In re N.A.
N.A. is a young gay man from Saudi Arabia, who lived his life in fear that others would discover his sexual orientation. He knew that gay men were often detained by police, tortured and killed—and he also knew that his family would disapprove or even turn him in to the police if they found out about his sexual orientation. As a result, he often hid his feelings towards men, fearing the repercussions.
In re R.F.
R.F. is a young gay man from Honduras who is seeking asylum in the United States. Growing up, R.F. was physically and emotionally abused by his grandmother and uncles because he didn’t conform to gender stereotypes. At school he was also targeted by older children, and when he would try to seek help from his teachers or the principal, he was told that he needed to behave more like a “man” so that the other kids would stop harassing him. By the time he was 13-years-old, his neighbors perceived him as gay and physically assaulted him in public, and he was not safe at home with his family. When he was 17-years-old, he left his home town for the capital, hoping to find a safe environment; instead, he encountered even more violence.
In re R.T.
R.T. is a gay man from Peru who fled to the United States because he was the victim of severe harassment and violence in his home country. While in Lima, Peru, he was physically assaulted several times in public, and was subjected to sexual abuse as well. The persecution started when he was young, with verbal and emotional abuse that eventually led to physical abuse. As he grew older, the abuse and harassment only worsened. After being stripped naked at his workplace by co-workers who constantly harassed and physically abused him, he fled to the United States fearing for his life.
In re S.K.
S.K. is a gay Pakistani man seeking asylum and withholding of removal because he fears persecution based on his sexual orientation and HIV status. Under Pakistani law, being gay is punishable by death, and LGBT people are forced to live in secrecy and constant fear of exposure. The Immigration Judge ignored the serious risk of persecution that S.K. faces and denied his application for asylum. The judge held that S.K., who is HIV positive, and was in a committed relationship with a man in Minnesota, could avoid persecution by hiding his sexual orientation, marrying a woman, and having children. The Immigration Judge also failed to recognize that S.K.’s traumatizing diagnosis of HIV understandably delayed his filing.
In re V.R.
V.R., a gay man from Mexico, had been taunted, harassed, and assaulted for most of his life. His stepfather was particularly abusive and attempted to “make a man” out of V.R. and “correct” his sexual orientation. V.R. was also subject to constant verbal and physical harassment at school, which only worsened as he got older. He suffered physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of classmates, family members, and people in his neighborhood. He eventually left his home town of San Jose Chiltepec when he was 25 after suffering several public attacks. He moved to Tijuana where his situation improved slightly, but deteriorated when his neighbors discovered his sexual orientation.
In re Y.G.
Y.G. is a transgender woman from Mexico who suffered severe physical and mental abuse from her family because of her gender identity. Growing up, her family insisted that she act more “masculine,” and she was physically abused when she refused. She went to the police, but they ignored her need for protection. In February 2007, Y.G. was badly beaten by gang members who left her bleeding from head wounds. Fearing for her life, she fled to the United States.
In re E.G.
E.G. is a young gay man from Uganda who came to the United States in order to pursue higher education. As a child and young adult, he was often verbally abused by his family members for behaving in a way that seemed too different from other boys. As he grew older, he learned to hide his sexuality for fear of being arrested by the police on the basis of his sexual orientation. E.G. hid from government operatives who hunt down men who are suspected to be gay, and then once arrested, are often tortured.
In re A.C.
A.C. is a prominent lesbian activist for LGBT rights and women’s rights in Honduras. A paramilitary gang of masked, armed men attacked A.C. in her home in Honduras and sexually assaulted her while making derogatory comments about her sexual orientation. A.C. did not report the sexual assault to the police, fearing that the police would subject her to further harassment or violence. After the attack, A.C. received a series of threatening phone calls that also used derogatory terms to describe her sexual orientation. She eventually fled to the United States and filed for asylum.
In re Alejandra
Alejandra is an 18-year-old transgender woman from Guatemala who struggled for her family’s acceptance from a very young age. When Alejandra’s father found out that she identified as a girl, he abandoned the family, leaving Alejandra’s mom to support two kids alone. Alejandra also faced daily verbal and physical attacks.
In re Armando
In Mexico, Armando endured harassment, threats, violence, extortion, and robbery at the hands of a police officer and his friends. In February 2005, he came to San Francisco. Through the help of a former client of NCLR, he contacted us and we immediately approached the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights to locate a pro bono attorney for him. With the help of Angela Bortel at Kerosky & Associates, his asylum application was filed in January 2006. Armando successfully obtained asylum in June 2007 and he is currently attending San Francisco City College.
Victory! (El Salvador)
In re Dina
Dina, a native and citizen of El Salvador, knew at a young age that she was a lesbian. She was rejected by her mother who constantly threatened to expose her sexual orientation to friends, coworkers, and employers. Living under this constant threat of exposure, Dina was pressured to marry a man. Her husband, a police officer, knew she was gay and used her sexual orientation to control her and her children. For years, he physically abused and raped her, causing near death experiences and prolonged hospital recoveries. Dina and her children escaped El Salvador in 2003. Since their arrival in the United States, the family has found refuge at various churches and domestic violence shelters. With NCLR as her counsel, Dina and her two children were granted asylum on November 23, 2005.
In re Irma
Irma is a Mexican transgender woman who has suffered a lifetime of loss, violence, and abuse. From a very young age, Irma understood herself to be female. Throughout her life, Irma was targeted for persecution by people in her community. After a brutal assault and continuing hostility from her mother and other family members, Irma fled to the United States. It wasn’t until 2005, when she moved to San Francisco, that she sought help. In January 2006, she began to receive services from the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center (MNRC) and it was there that she was referred to NCLR for assistance with her immigration status. With the pro bono representation of the Transgender Law Center’s Executive Director, Chris Daley, Irma’s asylum application was submitted on August 2006. Irma was granted asylum in August 2007.
Martinez v. Holder
Saul Martinez is a gay man from Guatemala who was beaten, sexually assaulted, and threatened by Guatemalan Congressman and repeatedly harassed by the Guatemalan police because of his sexual orientation. He fled to the United States and applied for asylum. However, in 1992, when he initially applied for asylum without an attorney, the U.S. had not yet recognized sexual orientation as a ground for asylum. Afraid of being forced back to Guatemala, where he feared for his life, Martinez did not disclose his sexual orientation in his initial asylum application, stating instead that he feared returning to Guatemala because of his political opinion. Once he retained an attorney, however, he immediately corrected his application and told the Immigration Judge the real reason he feared returning to Guatemala—because of the persistent persecution he had faced for his sexual orientation.
In re Luis
Luis, a 24-year-old gay man from Mexico, suffered years of discrimination, harassment, ostracism, and exclusion from school, sports, his family, and peers because of his sexual orientation. Rather than protect him, police officers in Mexico physically assaulted Luis on numerous occasions.
In re Martin
Martin is an HIV-positive gay man from Mexico. Martin felt ‘different’ from other boys from a very young age. His father would punish him harshly for “not acting like a boy.” Upon finding out about his son’s homosexuality, Martin’s father beat him, verbally abused him and then kicked him out of the house with no belongings. He was 15 years old. Since then he has had no contact with his family. He moved in with a friend and started working at the age of 16. For three years, he tried his best to survive in a world that was hostile towards him because of his homosexuality.
In re Meriella and Edit
On October 13, 2003, Mariella, a transgender woman, and her wife, Edit, were attacked in broad daylight on the streets of Lima, Peru by a gang of youth who beat them with stones while yelling disparaging homophobic comments. After months of continued harassment and threats, the couple fled Peru seeking safety in the United States. Through the support of pro bono counsel David Augustine and NCLR interpreter Noemi Calonje, Mariella and Edit were granted asylum on September 9, 2004.
In re Monica
Monica, a native and citizen of Colombia, came to the United States under a student visa. While in the United States, Monica came out as a lesbian. As a student Monica flourished in the arts, especially film making. She became an activist in the LGBT, immigration, and women's rights movements. Her films have been screened throughout the United States and internationally, winning her awards of recognition. Since her coming out and artistic expressions of activism, Monica fears returning to Colombia where homosexuality is seen as a sin and gay people have to live in hiding. With NCLR as her counsel, Monica was granted asylum on June 13, 2006.
In re Raul
Originally from Peru, Raul is a transgender man who, from a very early age, knew that he was in the wrong body. As a child, he woke up every morning waiting for his body to change from female to male. His family had a difficult time adjusting to their child’s gender identity and expression. In school, he endured verbal and physical attacks, isolation, and harassment on a daily basis. Raul sought refuge in the United States where his relatives resided. His search for legal help went on for nine months and he was ready to give up when he found NCLR. Raul made his way to San Francisco where he proceeded to file for asylum. NCLR, with the assistance of pro bono attorney Cara Jobson at Ark, Wiley and Jobson, filed his application in February 2007. Raul was granted asylum in July 2007.
In re Shinegerel
In Mongolia, Shinegerel was arrested and detained by the Mongolian police because she is a lesbian. In custody, Shinegerel suffered severe physical abuse while being interrogated about her sexual orientation.
In re Valeria
Raised in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Valeria suffered tremendous abuse from the time she was a young child. By the age of eight, her parents realized Valeria was different from her nine siblings, and emotionally, physically, and sexually abused her because of her gender identity. At thirteen, at the onset of puberty, her parents kicked her out of the house. Valeria came to NCLR in 2005 and with NCLR as counsel, she filed an application for asylum with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She had her asylum interview in November 2006 and her application is still pending.
In re Vanessa
In September 2003, Vanessa left Nicaragua and fled to the United States in search of safety. She grew up in Nicaragua, where being lesbian or gay is still a criminal offense. Because of Nicaragua's strong social and religious bias against LGBT people, she suffered harassment and ostracism by her family and peers. NCLR partnered with local attorney Betsy Allen and filed an asylum application on her behalf based on her gender and sexual orientation. On May 10, 2005, Vanessa was granted asylum in San Francisco, California.
Soto Vega v. John Ashcroft
As a child in Mexico, Soto Vega suffered abuse, harassment, and ridicule from family members and classmates because he was perceived to be gay. As a teenager, Soto Vega was severely beaten by officers of the Mexican police force upon suspicion that he was gay. An immigration judge initially denied Soto Vega's application for asylum, based on the judge's view that Sota Vega does not "look gay."
W.K. v. Gonzales
The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for reconsideration of its prior decision denying asylum to W.K., a gay man from Zimbabwe. As a teenager in Zimbabwe, W.K. was imprisoned for being gay and suffered harassment and abuse from local authorities and neighbors, including being shocked with an electric wire. Robert Mugabe, the current President of Zimbabwe, is one of the most notoriously anti-gay leaders in the world. He has called lesbians and gay men "worse than dogs and pigs" and promised that he will do "everything he can" to eliminate them from Zimbabwean society.