January 9, 2013 at 5:06 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
D.C. Center to launch immigrant asylum program
Mova, gay news, Washington Blade, LGBT nightlife

Mova (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

The D.C. LGBT Community Center held a fundraiser Jan. 8 at MOVA to launch a new program to assist LGBT foreign nationals who apply for U.S. political asylum to escape persecution in their home countries.

The program, called Center Global, is aimed at providing temporary housing, financial assistance and referrals to service providers for LGBT foreigners in the D.C. area who are going through the complicated process of applying for and awaiting approval for political asylum, according to Center director David Mariner and Center Global coordinator Matthew Corso.

The two noted that legal groups have long provided pro bono legal representation for people going through this process, some of whom have fled their home countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Jamaica after encountering violent assaults and death threats due to their sexual orientation.

But those going through the legal process are banned from working in the U.S. until their asylum application is approved, making it difficult for them to pay for housing, food and other basic necessities, Mariner and Corso said.

“Basically, what we’re trying to do is raise the funds to help support the folks who are here going through this process,” said Corso. “We also want to raise awareness within the D.C. LGBT community of the plight of LGBT people being persecuted in other countries around the world.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • I was realized you help them to come USA what about my partner who live in Moscow, Russia we already partnership for 10 years we are deaf and mute both we were split live for 5 years and we tried to help get approve the visa and had turn down 8 times for 5 years because there know him as gay and not let him come . WHY? I already spend over $30,000 . I am already broke and can’t help him to come . I am really very hurtful. We are real love both. I wish to help you fund but already broke myself sorry…. I can’t understand they can’t help me?????????

  • Greetings,

    I am a journalist working on a piece about homosexuality and persecution in certain countries- and asylum seekers in the US. I would like to get in touch with any “success” stories- please email me if you would be interested, it could help a lot of people.

    thank you

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