"I'm not going to go back to Russia because I feel my safety, even my life, is threatened." These words were spoken by a former manager of a gay nightclub in Moscow during an interview with the Washington Blade.
Russia's new law banning gay propaganda has made global headlines recently, especially as the country prepares to host the Winter Olympics in just a few weeks. Being openly gay in Russia comes with risks that the former nightclub manager is not willing to take.
In November, the nightclub the man worked at, and the roughly 500 people who were inside of it, was attacked with poisonous gas. The former manager himself has been attacked several times in the last few months. Fearing for his life, he fled to the United States.
The man is staying here on a visa that expires this summer, but he is working with an attorney to seek asylum so he does not have to return to Russia.
Sadly, this man is not alone in his fear of his home country. Many people across the world live fearing that they will be harmed or killed because of who they are. Fortunately, U.S. immigration laws allow anyone with refugee status to seek access to the United States. Once here, a person must show that their fear of persecution in their home country is valid. If immigration officials agree, that person will be granted asylum. Navigating the laws surrounding asylum can be quite difficult, however, so it is often helpful to work with an attorney throughout the process.
Source: Washington Blade, "EXCLUSIVE: Former manager of Russian gay nightclub to seek asylum in U.S.," Michael K. Lavers, Jan. 9, 2014