Thursday, February 01, 2018

Trump Extinguishes American Dream for Gay Immigrants

Newsweek reports:

Akram* risked everything, left his family, crossed Europe and the Atlantic to start life over again with the hope of living in a country where "all men are created equal," with the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And it had worked. Sitting before me, beaming with pride, was the 2018 manifestation of the Queer American Dream.

President Donald Trump has made achieving this dream nearly impossible for many queer asylum seekers and refugees. The countries included in Trump’s third travel ban, which is headed to the Supreme court, can easily double as a list of the “World's Least Safe Places To Be Queer.” Six of the eight countries have explicitly outlawed homosexuality, and LGBTQ, intersex and asexual (or LGBTQIA+) people in the remaining countries—Venezuela and North Korea—face extremely aggressive environments with no legal protections. Punishment for homosexuality ranges from one year in prison to the death penalty, and each of the eight countries has laws that restrict gender expression.

In Uzbekistan, Akram explains, gay life does not exist at all. Being queer is a “sin by religion, disgraced by society and shunned by all." At age 13, Akram bought 40 Demarol to take his own life; then one of his neighbors fortuitously offered to teach him English after school. He explains, “I opened up a new world by learning English. I knew straight away that the best thing for me would be to go to an English-speaking country if I want to live as who I am." Trump extinguished this hope for countless people with his travel ban.

See full story here.

*Akram's name has been changed to protect his safety.

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