Author(s): Rebecca A. HOPKINSON ; Eva KEATLY ; Elizabeth GLAESER ; Laura ERICKSON-SCHROTH ; Omar FATTAL ; Melba NICHOLSON SULLIVAN
Introduction: Asylum seekers are a unique population, particularly those who have endured persecution for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Little data exist about the specific experiences and needs of asylum seekers persecuted due to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) identity.
Methods: Quantitative data were gathered regarding demographics, persecution histories, and mental health of 61 clients from a torture survivors program in New York City who reported persecution due to LGBT identity. Thirty-five clients persecuted due to their LGBT identity were matched by country of origin and sex with clients persecuted for other reasons in order to explore how persecution and symptoms may differ for LGBT clients.
Results: LGBT asylum seekers have a higher incidence of sexual violence, persecution occurring during childhood, persecution by family members, and suicidal ideation.
Conclusions:Understanding the type of persecution experiences and how these influence mental health outcomes is an essential step towards designing and delivering effective treatments.
Keywords: Asylum, bisexual, gay, lesbian, LGBT, posttraumatic stress disorder, refugee, survivor of torture, transgender, trauma