By Jack Chavdarian
As attitudes in the United States are becoming more gay friendly, LGBT people in the rest of the world still face horrors that make everyday life a living nightmare.
“Sadly, the majority of countries worldwide persecute LGBTI individuals,” George Tenreiro, Attorney at Baldassare & Mara, LLC said.
Criminalization, violence, or even death for being gay are just some of the conditions LGBT people may face abroad.
Tenreiro’s firm helps those who wish to escape dangerous or unfriendly environments in other parts of the world obtain asylum in the United States.
“People applying for asylum are seeking a safe haven to be free, to be themselves, and free from intense discrimination, imprisonment, torture, violence, and/or death,” Tenreiro said.
Asylum laws apply to those facing hardships because of being part of a sexual minority or HIV positive status.
If asylum is approved, that individual can, if they choose, begin a process that leads to full citizenship in the United States.
“Asylum, therefore, can be in a real sense a life-changer and an opportunity to start a new, promising life in an accepting and tolerant environment,” Tenreiro said.
A few weeks ago Tenreiro helped a man escape hostile conditions in Jamaica and obtain asylum in the US.
“He had been brutally attacked twice in Jamaica and suffered, among other injuries, a gun-shot wound,” Tenreiro said.
Tenreiro is now helping a client from Uganda who suffers physically and mentally from being beaten for a long period of time by a vigilante group.
“Many of my clients, however, have been incredibly closeted in their respective home and hostile countries to avoid such brutal attacks,” Tenreiro said. “So, their asylum claims are more about the pain of living a secret life and the fear of being discovered.
Although an attorney isn’t necessary to apply for asylum status in the US, Tenreiro advises those seeking asylum to find an attorney to assist them with complications that may present themselves along the way.
“Every case is different and turns on the unique facts of a particular person’s case,” he said. “This is why it is very important that anyone considering asylum speak to an experienced asylum attorney.”
Tenreiro said he is amazed with his clients who overcome their experiences with grace and courage.
The environment may not be perfect for the LGBT community in the United States, but asylum has allowed many throughout the world to gain the freedom to be themselves safely.
You can learn more about Gay Asylum from Tenreiro’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GayAsylum?fref=ts
Or his website: http://www.mabalaw.com/