ASISTA Honors LGBTQIA+ Immigrant Survivors:

Reflections and Resources

June 2023

This Pride month and every month, ASISTA celebrates the resilience and bravery of queer and trans immigrants who journey to find safety, love, and self-determination in this country. We also acknowledge that these promises are not always fulfilled, and that LGBTQ+ immigrant survivors face multiple barriers to living free from harm and violence in the United States.  

2023 has seen an explosion of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the United States. The frightening impact of this moment for LGBTQ+ immigrant survivors is compounded by the surge of anti-immigrant legislation. For example, in the past year, Florida has passed a slate of anti-LGBTQ+ bills banning gender affirming care, expanding the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” ban on discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in public education, prohibiting gender inclusive restrooms, and permitting discrimination in healthcare. Compounding that harm, Florida’s recent, sweeping anti-immigrant legislation requires, among numerous other provisions designed to create a chilling and inhospitable climate for immigrants, that hospitals collect immigration status information from patients, and law enforcement agencies coordinate with federal immigration enforcement even in the course of initial emergency responses. 

We know that these measures inevitably fall hardest on undocumented LGBTQ+ immigrant survivors of violence and undermine an already tenuous trust in service providers, thus deepening the isolation of survivors living in dangerous circumstances. We know that when intimate partner violence occurs, and homophobia and threats of deportation are weaponized against them in the criminal legal system, queer and trans immigrant survivors experience especially harmful consequences. ASISTA is proud to work with partners who address these concerns with compassion and respect, and celebrates our members who provide respectful and affirming services directly to LGBTQIA+ immigrants. 

As challenging as this moment is, we also recognize the healing power of community. During the recent week of remembrance, the Orlando Museum of Art unveiled a mural in honor of the victims and survivors of the Pulse massacre that killed 49 mostly queer and trans Latinx people in 2016. Having just held our pre-AILA conference in Orlando this week (recordings to follow), and connected with some of the amazing advocates for immigrant survivors in Florida, ASISTA is proud to work alongside all of you for a better world everywhere. 

Because these issues are central to effective advocacy, we are sharing these toolkits for addressing hate and intimate partner violence in LGBTQIA+ communities from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, which is coordinated by a longtime ASISTA member, the NYC Anti-Violence Project

In addition, in case you missed it, last year for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, ASISTA presented a webinar with guest speaker Lynly Egyes of Transgender Law Center on best practices for working with LGBTQ+ immigrants who have experienced gender-based violence such as domestic violence or trafficking, with special attention to LGBTQ+ trafficking survivors who have or fear being harmed by the criminal legal system. Additional national resources for LGBTQIA+ immigrants include Transgender Law Center, Immigration Equality, and Lambda Legal.