However, in some countries, many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex (LGBTI) people face discrimination, persecution and violence on a daily basis, and they often have no choice but to seek asylum elsewhere. Others are paralyzed by fear, suffer in silence and attempt to hide their sexual orientation or gender identities in an effort to avoid danger, further compounding their vulnerability.
In recent decades, the number of LGBTI refugees and asylum-seekers has risen, with most qualifying as ‘members of a particular social group’ under the 1951 Refugee Convention. Being an LGBTI refugee can add to the complex challenges and threats that a refugee faces after fleeing conflict. They need to find physical safety from war and conflict, whilst also being protected from threats and discrimination that can result from their LGBTI identity.
LGBTI persons also reported lack of trust towards service providers including asylum services based on experiences of discrimination against them and maltreatment by personnel of such services who lack understanding for their concerns and needs. This has led to an under-identification of LGBTI refugees.
countries criminalize same-sex relations
punish it with the death penalty
of UNHCR offices priortise LGBTI refugees for resettlement
How UNHCR helps the LGBTI refugee community?
We are a global leader in protecting vulnerable people fleeing violence, conflict and prejudice. We sensitively identify LGBTI refugees and displaced people for immediate protection or resettlement and fosters supportive communities to protect LGBTI people who are at-risk.
We train staff to be aware of the particular challenges facing LGBTI refugees and will make every effort to create a safe environment in registration facilities, in camps and settlements so that LGBTI refugees can identify themselves and seek help.
We also create safe spaces for LGBTI identifying people to seek help and socialize, help LGBTI refugees access medical and psycho-social support and where possible, will seek to resettle LGBTI refugees to a third country where they are able to live safely with their true identity.