Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ+) persons can face discrimination, persecution and violence, sometimes on a daily basis. In certain countries, same-sex relationships are criminalized – sometimes punishable by death. Many LGBTIQ+ persons have no choice but to seek refuge elsewhere. But even in countries of asylum, they can face stigma and abuse.
In recent decades, the number of LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers has risen, with most qualifying as "members of a particular social group" under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which defines the term ‘refugee,’ outlines their rights and sets out the legal obligations of States to protect them.
UNHCR works to try to protect all LGBTIQ+ refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people and works with partners to provide inclusive services, protect their rights and identify safe options.
A message from UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
Get to know Muhammad Adeel Iqbal, Maritza, Amani and other LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers, who left behind their homes to find the freedom to be who they truly are.
Reports and resources
- Find a comprehensive list of documents related to sexual orientation and gender identity here.
- Tip sheet on applying the UNHCR age, gender and diversity policy to LGBTIQ+ persons