LGBT Asylum Seekers

The following article from Qantara includes poignant commentary on the struggles that LGBT asylum seekers face even after they leave the hardships of their home country. Among the featured stories is that of Assem Al-Tawdi, friend of Rainbow Street, founder of Arabs4Tolerance, and creator of the popular Facebook page LGBT Arabs. Read on to learn about Assem's story and the story of many other queer and transgender people who grew up in intolerant communities around the world.

While it is a well-known fact that LGBT people face discrimination and violence in Muslim and Arab countries, it is not quite as well known that LGBT people seeking asylum in the West also face considerable difficulties and in some cases gross insensitivity. Some of those who have been granted asylum are now using the Internet to try and foster tolerance in their native countries. By Joseph Mayton

Ashraf is trendy. By any definition, he is a hipster. He might be all smiles today, but as he waits for asylum in the United States, life for this Libyan national is, at best, difficult. Ashraf is gay.

"I have been waiting for over a year now, and trying to figure out my life and my future is hard," he tells over coffee within a stone's throw of San Francisco's Mission Dolores Park, a favourite location for the LGBT community and others who enjoy sun-filled afternoons on the green slopes in the centre of the city. Continue reading...