Special issue of Forced Migration Review on sexual orientation and gender identity, 2013

Subject Area

Sexual Orientation/Sexuality
Gender Identity
Human Rights







Year Published



Forced Migration Review (FMR) 42, April 2013 (special issue on sexual orientation and gender identity and the protection of forced migrants)


Around the world, people face abuse, arbitrary arrest, extortion, violence, severe discrimination and lack of official protection because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This latest issue of FMR includes 26 articles on the abuse of rights of forced migrants who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex. Authors discuss both the challenges faced and examples of good practice in securing protection for LGBTI forced migrants.




LGBT: equally entitled to human rights and dignity

Anne C Richard

Recognition that LGBT rights are universal rights is gaining ground. The trend, finally, is positive. But greater respect for LGBT rights and inclusion of LGBT people still is not a worldwide movement.


Ensuring protection for LGBTI Persons of Concern

Volker Türk

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) asylum seekers and refugees face a myriad of threats, risks and vulnerabilities throughout all stages of the displacement cycle. There needs to be greater awareness not only of the specific protection concerns relating to LGBTI individuals but also of related jurisprudence and guidance available for UN staff, partners, state authorities and decision-makers.


Mental health challenges of LGBT forced migrants

Ariel Shidlo and Joanne Ahola

Many LGBT forced migrants have significant and sometimes incapacitating psychological scars. Mental health providers can assist in documenting the psychological impact of anti-LGBT persecution and its impact on the ability to secure refugee status.


The Rainbow Group in Mae La camp


Discrimination, verbal abuse and physical and sexual violence follow Burmese LGBTI people who cross into Thailand to seek shelter in camps.


“On what grounds?” LGBT asylum claims in Canada

Sharalyn Jordan and Chris Morrissey

A number of positive developments have occurred over the past two decades to create more robust protection and community support within Canada – but recent legislative changes will jeopardise fairness and justice for LGBT refugee claimants.


LGBTI asylum claims – the Central and Eastern European perspective

Anna Sledzinska-Simon and Krzysztof Smiszek

Recent research indicates that CEE countries still lag far behind the rest of Europe in their asylum practices in relation to LGBTI asylum claims. Low levels of awareness, lack of guidance and cultural hostility are jeopardising asylum seekers’ prospects for fair treatment.


Global human rights frameworks applicable to LGBTI migrants

Shana Tabak and Rachel Levitan

Although no international legal instrument exists to specifically protect the human rights of LGBTI individuals, over recent years international legal bodies have interpreted basic human rights provisions to apply to LGBTI populations.


LGBTI refugees: the Brazilian case

Henrique Rabello de Carvalho

Public policies in defence and in favour of LGBT people are neither sufficient nor effective in reducing homophobic violence in Brazil.


Sexual orientation and gender identity: developments in EU law

Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi

The amended version of the EU Qualification Directive, adopted in 2011, marks further progress in ensuring LGBTI applicants’ rights by explicitly adding gender identity alongside sexual orientation as a cause of persecution.


LGBT refugee protection in the UK: from discretion to belief?

Amanda Gray and Alexandra McDowall

The UK government used to have no specific guidance or training for decision-makers for claims brought on the grounds of sexual orientation. It was only in 2010 following a combination of judicial, civil society and political pressures that specific policy guidance was speedily issued and significant progress was seen.


Seeking asylum in the UK: lesbian perspectives

Claire Bennett and Felicity Thomas

Many aspects of the UK asylum process can be confusing, disempowering and traumatic for lesbian asylum seekers. Recent research examines the impacts of this process on their experiences, their identity and their well-being.


Barriers to justice in the UK

Charlotte Mathysse

In recent years, there have been significant legal advances in the treatment of the cases of lesbian and gay asylum seekers in the UK. However, significant barriers still remain.


Asylum for persecuted homosexuals in the Republic of Korea

Andrew Wolman

Two recent successful claims for asylum suggest that the Republic of Korea may be prepared to serve in the future as an important country of asylum for those suffering persecution due to their sexual orientation.


Challenges to producing LGB-specific Country of Origin Information

Christian Pangilinan

Evaluations of whether LGB asylum claimants have a well-founded fear of persecution frequently require Country of Origin Information but information on LGB populations in countries where being LGB is criminalised is often difficult to obtain.


Assessing transgender asylum claims

Jhana Bach

It can be challenging for all asylum seekers to demonstrate that they are at risk of persecution but perhaps even more so for transgender applicants.


Kosovo: what does the future hold for LGBT people?

Agathe Fauchier

Rising numbers of people from Kosovo are seeking asylum in other European countries on grounds of persecution for their sexual orientation. States considering such claims need to look beyond Kosovo’s apparently progressive constitution to the rather different reality on the ground.


City planning for sexual diversity: new policies in Bogotá

Marcela Ceballos and Juan Carlos Prieto

In 2009 the city council of Bogotá introduced a policy to guarantee equal rights for LGBT people in the city.


Towards inclusive resettlement for LGBTI refugees

Jennifer Rumbach

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees face myriad challenges within the resettlement context. Practical initiatives – such as creating a welcoming space, ensuring confidentiality, training staff, providing critical resources and fostering inclusive workplaces – can promote a more humane resettlement experience.


LGBT refugee resettlement in the US: emerging best practices

Scott Portman and Daniel Weyl

US refugee resettlement agencies are directing more attention and effort toward assisting LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, and best practices are beginning to emerge.


LGBTI migrants in immigration detention

Shana Tabak and Rachel Levitan

As states increasingly use detention as a means of controlling migration flows, sexual minority migrants find themselves in detention facilities where they may face multiple violations of their human rights.


A model immigration detention facility for LGBTI?

Christina Fialho

The US has taken some positive steps to improve the treatment of gay and transgender asylum seekers in immigration detention but could make improvements in four key areas.


Identity and integration in Israel and Kenya

Yiftach Millo

Expression of non-conforming sexual orientation and gender identity depends on social, legal, cultural and political opportunities which provide space for exploration and the emergence of new identities. People’s protection will also depend on these.


Protection in the city: some good practice in Nairobi

Duncan Breen and Yiftach Millo

Despite a challenging protection environment, an assistance programme for LGBTI refugees in Nairobi offers examples of good practice that could be replicated in other urban settings.


Gender identity and disaster response in Nepal

Kyle Knight and Courtney Welton-Mitchell

Agencies need to be mindful of the special needs of LGBTI victims of disasters in order to enhance protection and minimise unintended harmful consequences of relief efforts.


LGBT aid workers: deployment dilemmas


LGBT aid workers and their managers confront a number of dilemmas in deciding whether LGBT staff will be safe – and accepted – working in certain countries.


Grantmaking for SOGI programmes

Andrew S Park

With issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity a relatively new field for funders, the opportunity exists for funders to exert strategic influence on the development of improved policy and practice.


File(s): fmr42full-2