While have watched the increasing crisis for Syrian refugees unfold and applaud the Obama administration for agreeing to settle 10,000 Syrians in the U.S., in addition to regular quotas, we must pave the way for marginalized LGBTI refugees among them.
Several countries have agreed to take in refugees. Protocols should be in place for identifing LGBT people, who ought to be resettled in countries where they will be treated equally, with dignity and respect.
LGBTI refugees are subject to further abuse and persecution by non accepting families and heterosexual refugee populations. For this reason we hope that the Obama administration will give special consideration to setting aside at least 10% of this quota for LGBT people, who require urgent protection.
According to the organization ORAM, there are at least 400 self-identified LGBT Syrian refugees currently in Turkey, a temporary host country – with thousands more in hiding. LGBT Syrians have also escaped to Lebanon, Jordan and other countries.
It is hoped that LGBTI refugees, who may feel unsafe in declaring their sexuality and gender identity to officials, come out to trusted global organizations, to help advocate for their resettlement.