It was her quiet determination to live that made a lasting impression on me. She was a refugee of LGBT hatred in Uganda. I had the opportunity to meet her in New York City at a meeting called to discuss the growing crisis of systemic violence toward LGBT people in many countries in parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
She spoke of her experience being raped by men who claimed they did so in order to “cure” her of her lesbian orientation. She told us about the beatings she had endured by thugs in her neighborhood tied to local authorities. And she related her fear for the safety of her family now that she has escaped the horror that was her life in a country ruled by hate.
The cry of my heart was “what can I do?” I chafed against the powerlessness I felt in the face of this growing problem.
Now ORAM (Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration) has provided a user-friendly resource to help local congregations put away that sense of powerlessness and act to help save the lives of LGBT refugees in the United States. Rainbow Bridges is available at: http://oraminternational.com/publications.
“There are immediate ways those of us in the U.S. can support members of our LGBT community facing persecution overseas,” said Neil Grungras, Executive Director of ORAM. “Uniting in support of queer asylum seekers and refugees is a powerful way of building community and reversing homophobia.”
Sometimes I hear folks say that the movement for LGBT justice is over…then I think of the face of that indomitable woman from Uganda. Our work is not done – in the US, or overseas. If Holy Spirit is calling you to do something, ORAM’s new resource can help.