LGBTQ Asian Group Calls For Reform
A group representing LGBT Asians is drawing attention to the need to protect members of the gay community in the country’s immigration laws. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance held a news conference on Tuesday, featuring two gay, undocumented immigrants.
“Dania” came to the US from Indonesia in 2002. She fought back tears, describing the case she made for asylum in 2003.
Dania: “I explained to the judge everything I have experienced in the past living in a Muslim country. I explained that I did not feel safe living there. I was fearful …. I was fearful of being gay, and I was afraid that if the Muslims found out, they would kill me.” (listen to a longer clip here)
Dania said the judge denied her case – because she couldn’t prove that she was gay, or that her life would be in danger if she returned to Indonesia. She has been living here illegally since then.
“Pradip” is from Bangladesh. He says his own experience as an undocumented immigrant – and working as an HIV/AIDS youth educator – have shown him how dangerous our current system can be to LGBT people who often already feel like outcasts.
Pradip: “When you’re marginalized like this, and you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, you don’t see anything to work towards — you’re going to stop caring about yourself. You’re going to make decisions that might not be the best for you. You’re going to flirt with risk. (listen to a longer clip here)
NQAPIA is calling on Washington to pass immigration reform that specifically protects LGBT immigrants – even those who are NOT in a bi-national relationship, whom the “Uniting American Families Act” would cover.