Screen Readers Skip to Content

New Study on LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Author: The Williams Institute
Author Contact:
Published: 8th Jul 2022 - Updated: 16th Jul 2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBTQ News America Publications

Summary: New study on LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers highlights the need for data and research.


Refugee / Asylum Seeker

A refugee is someone fleeing persecution or armed conflict.

An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but has not yet had that claim substantiated.

Main Document

A new report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law examines the experiences of LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers, including root causes of migration, barriers to claiming asylum, and arrival and resettlement challenges.

Researchers conclude that LGBTQI+ migrants are particularly vulnerable to discrimination, persecution, and violence throughout the migratory process. However, numerous unanswered or unexplored issues remain, including demographic characteristics of LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers, migration dynamics, and the outcomes of asylum adjudication and refugee status determination processes.

“Research shows that LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers face unique challenges that require targeted resources to ensure their safety and access to necessary medical care, especially for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals,” said lead author Ari Shaw, Senior Fellow and Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute. “But more data are needed to understand where the system is falling short for LGBTQI+ refugees and what interventions can best protect and promote their fundamental rights.”

In a previous study, the Williams Institute found an estimated 30,900 LGBT people applied for asylum in the United States between 2012 and 2017, with nearly 4,000 seeking asylum due to fear of persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The majority of LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in the U.S. came from the Northern Triangle region of Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador).

The current report synthesizes the literature on LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers worldwide, discusses knowledge gaps, and establishes a research agenda. Key findings from the literature include:

Root Causes of LGBTQI+ Migration

Challenges in Transit and Awaiting Asylum

Barriers to Claiming Asylum or Refugee Status

Experiences of Arrival and Resettlement

In February 2022, the Williams Institute convened 25 experts for a one-day conference to discuss what is known and not known about LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers. A summary report from the convening, Knowledge Gaps and Research Priorities on LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers, is available online.

* * *

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

References and Source(s):

New Study on LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers | The Williams Institute ( makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest LGBTQ News America Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to LGBTQ News America that includes:

LGBTQ Youth Reveal Negative Mental Health Impacts of Anti LGBTQ Policies and Victimization thumbnail image.
The Trevor Project annual US national survey of LGBTQ young people underscores negative mental health impacts of anti-LGBTQ policies and victimization.
Publish Date: 2nd May 2023
The United States Department of Social Security Logo. thumbnail image
U.S. Social Security Equity Action Plan includes a commitment to ensure people who identify as gender diverse or transgender have options in the Social Security Number (SSN) card application process.
Publish Date: 20th Oct 2022 - Updated: 24th Oct 2022
New Study on LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers  thumbnail image.
New study on LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers highlights the need for data and research.
Publish Date: 8th Jul 2022 - Updated: 16th Jul 2022
LGBT People of Color More Likely than White Non-LGBT Adults to Face Food Insufficiency During the Pandemic thumbnail image.
Food insufficiency was reported by three times as many LGBT people of color as non-LGBT White people.
Publish Date: 15th Apr 2022

1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Gender Terms
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.

• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.

• (APA): The Williams Institute. (2022, July 8). New Study on LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers . Retrieved September 23, 2023 from

• Permalink: <a href="">New Study on LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers </a>