According to a recent Pew Research study, over 71% of millennials consider themselves allies with the LGBT community. Nationwide, over 56% of Americans favor same-sex marriage. This is an significant increase over the last decade! However, as the U.S. becomes more and more accepting of the gay community, it is easy to forget how these men and women are treated as less than human outside the United States.
Here at the Law Office of Rachel Einbund, we handle several asylum cases, many of which are based on an individual’s fear of persecution on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our clients include gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals who have faced an enormous amount of oppression, discrimination, and hate in their home countries.
In preparing these cases for filing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), we ask our clients to draft a personal statement describing the conditions of their persecution in great detail. We are often moved to tears by the first-hand accounts of the inhumane and repressive circumstances our clients were forced to endure.
For example, one of our clients is a gay Russian man with HIV (Alex). Alex was called a “sinner,” “sick and insane,” and “a disease to society” by a so-called family friend because he revealed that he was in love with a man. Alex was disowned by his family, beaten by anti-gay vigilantes, and refused life-sustaining HIV medication when doctors discovered his secret.
In his personal statement, Alex recounted one particularly haunting story. While meeting with his doctor for a pre-surgery consultation, Alex revealed that he was gay and suddenly the doctor turned very cold. On the day of the surgery, the doctor deliberately injected an anesthetic that caused Alex to suffer the utmost pain while in surgery. When Alex complained of the severe pain during the operation, the doctor told him that it was his homosexuality that was the cause for his pain and suffering.
This incident is beyond terrifying. We would like to believe that this was a one-time occasion, but sadly, these disgusting accounts of mistreatment happen every day. How may a person live happily if he is constantly degraded and treated as a criminal without ever having committed a crime? Never mind living happily– how can a person even LIVE, if he is mistreated by his own doctor? How can a person live day to day in fear of being targeted by “activists” who wish to cleanse the population of homosexuality?
Despite the recent advances in equality and acceptance for the LGBT community, our asylum cases remind us of the astounding level of homophobia that still exists across the globe.