Impact: Protection after Decades of Anti-Gay Persecution

Carlos* grew up in a Latin American country with a pattern of aggressive anti-gay violence. By the time he was 16, Carlos had suffered severe verbal, physical, and sexual abuse from family, peers, and teachers because they perceived him as gay. After the police discovered his sexual identity, Carlos fled and lived for the next ten years under various aliases in several countries. When Carlos returned to his native country to visit relatives, police discovered him after only a week. They arrested and imprisoned him, without charges, in a notorious prison. Eventually, Carlos' country told him to leave and threatened arrest and further harm if he ever returned. Carlos resumed hiding in other countries for the next 15 years until he came to the U.S. in 2004. Already exhausted and traumatized, Carlos' troubles increased when he discovered that he had contracted HIV. Carlos applied for asylum, but a lack of documentary evidence and confusion over his identity complicated and prolonged his case. In August 2008, with the help of NIJC and pro bono attorneys, Carlos finally received a grant of asylum.

*Name has been changed to protect client's privacy.