People leave one country to live in another for many reasons. They might travel to be close to a loved one or family member. It could be a work or business opportunity that prompts them to leave their country of origin.
Many people also have to leave their homelands to flee political or religious persecution. Those who face persecution at an institutional level make qualify for asylum. Asylum allows someone who doesn’t otherwise have grounds for entry or residence in the United States to live here to avoid persecution.
People often use religious or racial persecution as grounds for asylum. Can homosexual and bisexual people claim asylum based on their sexual orientation?
Minority sexual orientations have historically faced persecution
Many conservative cultures and traditional religions completely rejected the concept of homosexuality and bisexuality. Although modern science has shown that there is a biological and unchangeable component to sexual orientation, religious institutions and governments still discriminate against those attracted to members of the same sex or to both sexes.
Historically, members of the gay and lesbian communities, as well as openly bisexual individuals, have faced persecution from churches and governments. In fact, a review of successful asylum cases involving date male applicants found that over 80% had experienced torture prior to fleeing their country of origin. The United States has allowed people to seek asylum for homosexuality since the 1990s, although the approval rate of such requests tends to vary with political changes.
Sexuality-based asylum claims are slow
Sometimes, individuals don’t even acknowledge their homosexuality until they leave the country where they lived. Only when they arrived in the United States and have the ability to freely explore themselves do they realize their same-sex attraction. Other people realize their sexuality but avoid expressing it until they reach the safety of the United States.
Both those who fled their country out of fear of persecution due to homosexuality and those who identify their homosexuality or bisexuality after entering the United States may have grounds for an asylum claim, patience and careful attention to detail with paperwork is crucial for the success of such. Understanding if you might qualify for asylum can help you explore your immigration rights.