LGBTQ Migrants

Seeking Asylum Is Hard Enough, Turns Out It's Nearly Impossible When You're A LGBTQ Migrant

The truth of the matter is, the path to the border is harsher than anyone can dare to imagine.

15
views

We have seen in recent weeks the issue of entry to asylum seekers being reviewed in Congress and discovering that while laws dictate that any person on US ground seeking asylum must be allowed entry, a recent expose has revealed that many asylum seekers are being denied entry. One group whose lives are especially at stake due to this violation of laws is the LGBTQ migrant. These migrants, especially those who come from Central and South America, are usually putting their safety on the line to journey to the border.

LGBTQ migrants often have to leave their friends and family due to violent persecution due to their sexual and gender identities in their native countries. The travel to Tijuana, Mexico, where most LGBTQ migrants in the region travel to begin the process of seeking asylum, is often very dangerous and migrants are often robbed, beaten, and/or sexually assaulted. Once in Tijuana, they might seek refuge in a detention center (as they are called), but these centers have been hubs of abuse and neglect.

Other migrants have been reported for showering openly and masturbating in front of LGBTQ migrants and migrants can be placed not due to their identified gender but their biological one. On top of this, seeking asylum requires proving that you are in fact LGBTQ, which often involves having to come out and thus exposing yourself to potential sexual violence and discrimination. For this reason, many migrants struggle to even attempt to apply for asylum.

Additionally, you also have to prove your life is in danger due to your sexuality or gender identification to even qualify to be considered for asylum. And many use the abuses they face in detention centers, which are spaces meant to keep them safe, as evidence.

Even US customs has been accused of negligence when a trans woman died in their custody due to HIV related complications and was apparently not given the right medical and/or other necessary attention. So the fact of the matter is that it isn't shocking that there are videos of officers at the border not allowing asylum seekers in. Some may feel that asylum seekers are trying to find the easy way out of the immigration process or that they are somehow trying to hoax the system, but the truth of the matter is, the path to the border is harsher than anyone can dare to imagine.

Popular Right Now

9 Queer Pride Flags That You Probably Didn't Know About

The rainbow flag is certainly the most recognizable, but it isn't the only Pride Flag there is.
128214
views

It's Pride Month yet again and fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are celebrating. Normally around this time of year, we expect to see that all-too-familiar rainbow colored flag waving through the air, hanging from windows and sported on clothing of all types. Even when not strictly a flag, the colors of the rainbow are often displayed when showing support of the larger queer community. But what many people do not realize is that there are many, many pride flags for orientations of all kinds, so Natasha and I (Alana Stern) have created this handy guide to some others that you may not yet be familiar with:

1. L is for Lesbian and G is for Gay

The most recognizable letters of the entire acronym, L (Lesbian) and G (Gay), represent the homosexual people of the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is defined as being exclusively sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Again, although the rainbow Pride flag is easily the most iconic and recognizable, there is a Lesbian Pride Flag as well. Specifically for "Lipstick Lesbians," this flag was made to represent homosexual women who have a more feminine gender expression. Here are the Lesbian Pride Flag (left) and Gay Pride Flag with the meaning of each stripe (right).



2. B is for Bisexual

Bisexuality is defined as the romantic and/or sexual attraction towards both males and females. They often go unacknowledged by people who believe that they cannot possibly feel an attraction for both sexes and have been called greedy or shamed in many ways for being who they are, but not this month. This month we recognize everyone and their right to love. Here is the flag and symbol that represents the big B!


3. T is for Transgender (Umbrella)

Gender identities are just as diverse as sexual orientations. Transgender people are people whose gender does not necessarily fall in line with their biological sex. That is to say, someone who is born male may not feel that calling oneself a man is the best way to describe who they are as a person; the same can go for someone who is born female or intersex (we'll get to that in a bit). Someone born female may feel that they prefer to be referred to as a man. Someone born male may feel that they don't mind being referred to as either a man or a woman. And someone may feel that neither term really fits. Identities can range from having no gender, to multiple genders, to having a gender that falls outside of the typical gender binary of man/woman, to anything in between. The colors of the flag are blue (the traditional color for boys), pink (the traditional color for girls) and white (to represent those who are intersex, transitioning, or have a gender that is undefined).


Okay! Here's where we get into the lesser-known letters of the acronym. You may have heard of some of these before but didn't quite know what they meant or how they fit into the larger queer community, or you may not have heard of them at all. Either way, we'll do our best to explain them!

4. I is for Intersex

Intersex people are people who are have a mix of characteristics (whether sexual, physical, strictly genetic or some combination thereof) that would classify them as both a male and a female. This can include but is not limited to having both XX and XY chromosomes, having neither, being born with genitalia that does not fit within the usual guidelines for determining sex and appearing as one sex on the outside but another internally. It is possible for intersex people to display the characteristics from birth, but many can go years without realizing it until examining themselves further later in life. Here is an older version of the intersex flag which utilizes purple, white, blue and pink (left) and a more recent one that puts an emphasis on more gender-neutral colors, purple and yellow (right).


5. A is for Aro-Ace Spectrum

The A in the acronym is usually only defined as Asexual, which is a term used to describe people who experience a lack of sexual attraction to any sex, gender, or otherwise. People who are asexual can still engage in healthy romantic relationships, they just don't always feel the need or have the desire to have sex and are not physically attracted to other people. If that's confusing, think of it this way: you are attracted women, but not men. You may see a man and think, "He's kind of cute" or "That's a pretty good-looking guy," but you still would not feel any desire towards that person, because that's not what you're into. Asexual people generally feel that way about everyone. That's the "Ace" half of "Aro-Ace."

"Aro," or Aromantic, is a term used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction. Aromantic people still have healthy platonic relationships, but have no inclination towards romantic love. The reason Asexual and Aromantic are together is because they are very heavily entwined and oftentimes can overlap. Underneath that spectrum are also other variations of asexuality (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are asexual but experience sexual attraction in very rare circumstances, or only after they have a romantic connection) and aromanticism (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are aromantic but experience romantic attraction in very rare circumstances).

Below are two versions of the Aromantic Pride Flag (top and middle) and the Asexual Pride Flag (bottom).





6. P and O are for Panseuxal and Omnisexual

Pansexual and omnisexual people are not limited by gender preferences. They are capable of loving someone for who they are and being sexually attracted to people despite what gender their partner identifies as. The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix "pan-", meaning all. Pansexuals or Omnisexuals will probably settle for whoever wins their heart regardless of that persons gender.


7. But what about the Q?!

The Q can be said to stand for Queer or Questioning, or both. "Queer" is more of a blanket term for people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community or who identify as something other than heterosexual or cisgender (a term that has come to describe people who feel that their gender does fall in line with their biological sex; i.e. someone born male feels that he is a man). It is also possible for someone to identify as queer, but avoid using it to refer to specific people unless you know they are okay with it; some people still consider it insulting. Questioning means exactly what it sounds like: it gives a nod to those who are unsure about their sexuality and/or gender identity or who are currently in the process of exploring it.

There's no one flag specifically for the letter Q, as all of the above sexualities and identities technically fall underneath this term.


This list is hardly comprehensive and there are a number of other flags, orientations and identities to explore. Pride Month is still going strong, and there's always more to learn about the ever-changing nature of sexuality as a whole and the way we understand it. It's a time for celebration, but also a time to educate and spread the word.

For a more in-depth description of different types of attraction and how they work, click here.

For more complete lists of gender identities throughout history, click here or here.

For a general list of commonly used words in the LGBTQ+ community and their definitions, click here.


Now go grab a flag and fly it high--you've got a ton to choose from!

Cover Image Credit: 6rang

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Dear Immigrants, Don't Let Yourself Be Silenced

You deserve to be heard.

513
views

Dear immigrants,

I write this not being from an immigrant family myself, but from a point of wanting to sympathize with you and let you know your struggles and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. We hear you and we commend you for your bravery.

All you want is to live a happy life in a place that provides you with the most opportunities to thrive and succeed, which your home country may not be able to do. Even if it means packing up your life and literally starting over somewhere completely foreign, you do it because you see the potential for the future for your family and children.

These choices are life-altering, and you put so much at risk by delving into the unknown. The melting pot that is the United States is quite the culture shock, made up ironically of a plethora of ethnic communities that all were immigrants once, too.

This can be comforting thinking that you are not alone in the immigrant aspect, but the process of assimilation can be completely overwhelming. You have seemed to create a happy mix of assimilation while contributing many admirable attributes of your own culture to society, which in my opinion is what makes the American culture so unique.

You have fought past the negative connotation that has been given to the word immigrant from the media, and continue to fight every day. You are an integral part of society and work so hard to chase your dreams and enrich society. The opposition and naysayers seem to be motivation, as you have successfully pursued rigorous degree plans at prestigious American universities, which is always something to be proud of. People may try to take away your strength mentally with hatred, but your education is one thing they can never take from you.

If you are reading this and you come from an immigrant family, I support you and respect you and all the hardships you may have endured. Whether it be to provide for children, siblings, or to pursue an education, remember to keep pushing past the struggles and celebrate all your victories. Although you may be thousands of miles from your family members, just imagine how proud they are of you.

If you are reading this and you do not come from an immigrant family, try to understand the immigrant community to the best of your ability, and think about everything they have been through. The United States was founded by immigrants, so it is very likely your family was in their position at one point. Take advantage of the rich worldly culture that surrounds us in our nation, you will be surprised by how much there is to learn from our international brothers and sisters.

I hope from this that one day we can all create a bright future united, for ourselves as individuals and the nation as a whole that we share.

Sincerely,

Carly Baysinger

Related Content

Facebook Comments