Back to Gift Store >

May 16, 2018

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Being gay is a crime in 77 countries, but caring Americans keep LGBTI refugees safe.

E., an LGBTI refugee in Africa

The world has been a hateful place for E*, who is from
a country in Africa where it is illegal for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people to live openly.

Knowing that family members would not be understanding and welcoming, E had no choice but to flee. "I love my family. I cannot blame them for how they would treat me if they knew about my true identity. But that is how it is," E painfully recalled.

Sadly, E is not alone. A shocking 77 countries criminalize same-sex acts. In five countries, the punishment is death. LGBTI people can also struggle to find acceptance with those closest to them —  their family. Sadly, many have no safe place to call home.

While advocacy has helped create acceptance and improved rights for LGBTI people in some regions of the world, bigotry and hate is still the reality for millions.  

With nowhere to turn, many LGBTI people flee in search of safety, but that brings other dangers. As a result, LGBTI refugees are among our world’s most isolated, brutalized people.

By supporting USA for UNHCR, caring Americans are providing a lifeline. The UN Refugee Agency trains all frontline workers — who wear rainbow "safety" badges to identify themselves — to avoid stereotypes, communicate respectfully and employ sensitive interview techniques.  In addition, UNHCR:

  • Provides emergency cash assistance available for food, rent and other necessities.
  • Ensures access to medical care, including psychological counseling to help refugees cope with the trauma they've endured.
  • Creates safe spaces within refugee camps to prevent abuse and exploitation, including sexual and gender-based violence.

Rainbow safety badge

Under the protection of UNHCR, E has found solidarity with a chosen family of fellow LGBTI community members. "My LGBTI friends and I are each other’s support system. We celebrate holidays together. We talk about issues affecting us. We face a lot of challenges, but they make us stronger."

"We face a lot of challenges, but they make us stronger."

With USA for UNHCR donor support, the UN Refugee Agency will do everything in its power to help protect E and all LGBTI refugees until no one is forced to flee their home because who they are and who they love.

Here's how you can help…

Stand up for refugees like E on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia — and every day — by becoming a monthly donor. It's the most convenient, effective and efficient way you can help. Make your first monthly gift today.

*To protect the safety of this brave refugee, identifying details have not been used.