The U.S. has made significant progress in protecting rights for lesbian, gay, transgender and queer individuals in recent decades. Regrettably, that is not the case in some other parts of the world. In fact, in many countries, being gay is a crime punishable by death. In others, simply being a member of the LGBTQ community may lead to a long prison sentence.
Since 1994, U.S. immigration law has allowed homosexuals to apply for asylum. If you or someone you love is considering applying for asylum in the U.S., meeting its basic eligibility requirements is essential.
Membership in a particular social group
Often, individuals use the phrase, “political asylum,” to refer to asylum generally. This is a misnomer, however, as political opinion is only one basis for seeking asylum in the U.S. There are four other grounds a person may use to pursue asylum, including the following:
- Membership in a particular social group
While they may have other grounds for seeking asylum, LGBTQ individuals typically use their membership in a particular social group to qualify for legal protections in the U.S. If you choose to use your membership in the LGBTQ community to seek asylum, you must submit evidence you belong to that community.
Persecution in your home country
In addition to proving you are a member of the LGBTQ community, you must also demonstrate you are likely to experience persecution in your home country because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. You can usually do so by showing either past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution.
Because there is no clear definition of what constitutes persecution, you should gather documentation about all mistreatment you have faced or may face in your native country should you return home.