South American countries are notorious for discrimination and violence against members of the LGBTQ community. For years, people have attempted to flee into the United States with the hope of applying for asylum. But are these individuals better off in the U.S.? Unfortunately LGBT asylum seekers are often the target of violence, discrimination, and sexual assault. Here’s everything you need to know.
According to groups like Dreamers Project and Amnesty International, LGBT asylum seekers are incredibly vulnerable to violence, discrimination, and sexual assault. Among those, transgender women face the most devastating risk. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that 20 percent of verified sexual abuse claims arising from victims in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are among transgender victims. Transgender women are 13 times more likely to suffer sexual assault than their peers.
While transgender women are most likely to experience abuse or discrimination, all members of the LGBTQ community are at risk. Examples of the type of abuse that asylum seekers face include:
- Being placed in solitary confinement as a means of “protection.”
- Being forced to perform sexual favors in exchange for food.
- Transgender women are often forced to shower in the company of cisgender men.
- Verbal and physical abuse
- Lack of proper medical care
ICE and the United Nations (UN) have established standards of care for LGBTQ detainees, but it appears that those standards are not being upheld. People who come to the U.S. looking for safety and recognition of their rights are being met with abuse, rape, and neglect of their basic needs. To say that this situation is deplorable only scratches the surface. It goes far beyond violating certain rights to the point of simply being inhumane.