No Gaiety Here: The Plight of Undocumented LGBT Youth in America
Immigrant Project,10 familiarized herself with the immigration system
and available forms of advocacy and relief, and joined the ght to pass
comprehensive immigration reform.11 While Yenny has secured at least
some peace of mind and no longer lives in constant fear of being returned
to Peru and to the hands of her father’s brutality, many LGBT youth are
not as lucky.
At least 267,000 undocumented Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender (LGBT) adults currently live in the United States.12 is gure
does not include those undocumented LGBT immigrants under the age
of eighteen.13 Placing these youth in immigration limbo only compounds
the high rates of violence at home, familial rejection, and homelessness
that LGBT-identied youth already face as compared to heterosexual and
cisgender children.14 All immigrants confront overwhelming roadblocks
to obtain lawful immigration status in the United States, but LGBT
immigrant youth also “must endure the same ‘coming out’ process as
their American counterparts, . . . [while] living undocumented or facing
deportation if their families reject them.”15 Moreover, an individual’s
sexual orientation or gender identication itself may become an issue in
the immigration process.
Particular challenges facing undocumented LGBT youth include:
• Denial of asylum based on non-conformance with asylum
10. Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project (QUIP), U W D, http://
unitedwedream.org/about/projects/quip/ (last accessed March 2, 2014).
11. Burns. Garcia, & Wolgin. supra note 1.
12. Gary Gates, LGBT Adult Immigrants in the United States, T W I
UCLA (March 2013), http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-
13. Burns. Garcia, & Wolgin, supra note 1, at 6.
14. Susan Hazeldean & Pradeep Singla, Out in the Cold: e Challenges of Representing
Immigrant Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth, 7 B’ I. R.
642, 642 (2002) (“LGBT young people are more likely to face violence in their
homes, to be rejected by their families, and to end up living on the streets than
heterosexual children. LGBT immigrant youth must endure the same ‘coming out’
process as their American counterparts, but they also face the additional burden of
living undocumented or facing deportation if their families reject them.”).