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Who are LGBTI refugees?

LGBTI refugees are distinct from other pesecuted groups in that their families of origin often contribute to the abuse. Many LGBTI forced migrants report ruthless emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual violence at the hands of their family.

A Peruvian woman was targeted with verbal and physical abuse by her family starting at a young age: She was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family, and unlike her siblings was not given a bed to sleep in. A Nigerian man’s father beat him, threw him out of the house, disowned him, and threatened to kill him because he was bringing disgrace to the family. A Jamaican man was terrorized at school, on the streets, at home. A Brazilian man’s father spat on him while telling him that he was not his son because he did not act like “a man”. In the same period this man also experienced relentless verbal and physical violence at the hands of his peers and adult neighbors.

LGBTI refugees face life-crushing abuse. They describe the absence of a safe space and of any way to escape the abuse. LGBTI refugees are rejected by their families of origin and religious institutions, harassed and bullied by their peers, and suffer violence and persecution at the hands of strangers and agents of the government. Verbal and physical violence, threats and harassment can be a daily occurrence. The relentlessness, pervasiveness, and inescapable character of the persecution and discrimination lead to a potent cumulative effect of these traumatic events.

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