Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

ORAM releases first ever guide on welcoming LGBTI migrants

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 29, 2012

ORAM (the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration) has released the first ever guide for American LGBT and accepting communities on welcoming people fleeing persecution in their home countries, according to a recent email announcement from ORAM.

Rainbow Bridges, a 48-page guide developed in a pilot project to resettle LGBT refugees in San Francisco, offers practical step-by-step guidance on welcoming new refugees, ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing, and helping them find support in their new communities. It includes sample forms, a suggested code of conduct, and outlines the avenues for refugees to receive housing, employment, and federal assistance…

…ORAM estimates the US receives about 2,000 refugees a year who are fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, representing 6% of all refugees in America. Unlike other refugees, those who are LGBT or intersex often undergo the integration process alone, facing exclusion from the religious and immigrant communities that form the safety net for most newly arrived refugees and asylees. Rainbow Bridges will help U.S. LGBT, faith-based, and welcoming communities support these refugees as they build new lives in the United States…

About ORAM
The Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration (ORAM) is the only organization focused exclusively on helping vulnerable LGBTI refugees worldwide find safety and rebuild their lives in welcoming communities. ORAM increases global support for refugees and asylum seekers through advocacy and education, as well as technical assistance to people and groups interested in working with refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers…

The report notes that resettlement agencies, “are unaccustomed to the isolation and challenges LGBTI refugees face and are unfamiliar with their unique needs. Many [resettlement agencies] lack the training and resources needed to effectively serve this vulnerable group. Perhaps most importantly, no [resettlement agency] has the resources or capacity to successfully integrate an individual without support from family or community.” This is an important point when you stop to think of all the other refugees resettled without support from family or community, e.g. the 3000+ Sudanese “Lost Boys” refugees.

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