Seeking Asylum: Challenges Faced by the LGB Community

Linda Piwowarczyk, Pedro Fernandez, Anita Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A retrospective chart review was completed of patients self-identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual seen through a program for survivors of torture between June 9, 2009 and December 31, 2014 (n = 50). Almost all (98 %) experienced persecution due to their sexual orientation and 84 % were survivors of torture. The circumstances under which the disclosure of sexual orientation took place in the country of origin were often traumatic. In several, efforts were made to change their sexual orientation often through forced marriage. Those in same sex relationships had relationships often marred by tragedy. Women were more likely to be forced to move from place to place, experience rape/sexual assault and threats whereas men were more likely to be persecuted by people on the street. All presented with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Providers need to be attuned to the potential traumatic histories of those fleeing persecution due to sexual orientation, and the medical, social, psychological, and legal implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-732
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Asylum seeker
  • LGB
  • Sexual orientation
  • Torture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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