RCUSA Staff Offer Remarks on Pride Month 2020

As we reflect on this Pride month we are reminded of its radical origins with the Stonewall uprising and the days of conflict with police following the raid of the Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969. We are reminded that Pride celebrations can only happen because of activists, community organizers, and advocates who work tirelessly to provide both the protections and resources with which LGBTQ+ people can thrive joyfully.

LGBTQ+ individuals are among those who may be forced to flee their homes and are often at greater risk as they seek safety because of their gender or sexual identities. This danger persists even as they await durable solutions — they are not safe at home, and they are not safe while they await protection. Time and again we read the stories of trans asylum seekers who are mistreated in detention centers, with transwomen spending on average twice as long in detention as their cisgendered counterparts, and their protections being limited to Obama-era guidelines which are being eroded.

Over the last weeks, two Black trans women, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Riah Milton, were murdered. And even as the Supreme Court ruled to protect LGBTQ+ people from workplace discrimination, the administration rolled-back protections for trans people on the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, leaving them vulnerable to life-threatening discrimination when they seek health care. The protection of LGBTQ+ people should not be left to the capricious whims of administrations, nor to the personal ideologies of health care nor law enforcement professionals who have neglected their central duties of protection.

It is our responsibility as advocates for the support, welcome, and rights of refugees, asylees, and stateless people that we not only include, but center people who are LGBTQ+ . We cannot effectively stand for safety and welcome if we are not able to provide some of the most essential civil and human rights protections to our LGBTQ+ community members here in the US.

The work of RCUSA, in striving to ensure that all vulnerable migrants have access to safety and opportunity, is intertwined with the work of racial justice and LGBTQ+ justice. So long as members of our community are targets of discrimination and violence, we cannot fulfill our work of being welcoming communities.

RCUSA staff are committed to the work of ensuring that all LGBTQ+ refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, stateless people, and all vulnerable migrants are able to live their authentic lives with joy, safety, and pride.


To find more resources about supporting LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers, visit Lambda Legal and Immigration Equality.