June 22 is Refugee Sunday | LGBT Refugees Share Their Stories

June 22, 2014 is Refugee Sunday declared by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) for their 75th anniversary.

LGBT individuals are fleeing Russia, Uganda, and countless other countries. On June 22, 2014 we encourage all RIC settings to take a moment and pray for LGBT people whose lives are in danger and who are seeking asylum.

Immigration Equality released a short film sharing success stories from their LGBT Asylum Program, which represents over 400 individuals from all over the world.

LGBT Asylum Program

Alexander Kargaltsev, a photographer and graduate of Russia’s top film academy, spent his childhood in Moscow.

Alexander Kargaltsev

He experienced first hand the country’s homophobic environment. 

Free to kill

When he began to fear for his own safety, he finally made the decision to leave.

Decision to leave

He was granted asylum on May 5th, 2011.

granted asylum

Victor Mukasa is a human rights defender living in Baltimore, MD.

Victor Mukasa

In his home country of Uganda, the issue of sexual orientation is just beginning to be understood.

religious community

His own religious community attempted to convert him from his transgender sexual identity.

pastor came for me

Along with other activists, he co-founded Uganda’s top LGBT rights group.


He was granted asylum on June 27th, 2013.

granted asylum

Damaris Rostran, a social worker and community organizer, came to the United States from Nicaragua.

Damaris Rostran

She kept her sexual orientation a secret to everyone but her own grandmother, who urged her to leave. 

Stay or leave?

Having lost a friend herself, she knew what could possibly happen if she was open about her sexuality.

killed my friend

Damaris was granted asylum on May 8th, 2013. She now lives with her partner in New Jersey.

granted asylum

Watch the entire film:

Photo essay by Sarah Karlan | Buzzfeed
Video by Immigration Equality

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