Happy Pride! This month’s celebration of the courage and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community is incredibly important to the Tahirih Justice Center and its mission. For more than 25 years we have worked to support immigrant survivors of violence, including women, girls, and anyone who has experienced abuse, exploitation, and persecution because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
People who identify as LGBTQIA+ face significant, specific harm around the world, including here in the U.S. For refugees and migrants, the immigration system can be retraumatizing and cruel. I’ve seen it with my own clients who came here with hope in their hearts but faced hurtful prejudice by American officers and judges and unnecessarily aggressive questioning that triggered horrible memories.
Allan, a former Tahirih client, is transgender. He fled his home because of gender-based violence then encountered it again here in the U.S., eventually finding safety and stability for himself and his children. He said: “Looking back, I see that I had the strength and resolve the whole time. Because of trauma, we tell ourselves we can’t do it. But in reality, we have overcome so much, and we will continue to overcome.” No one should have to experience violence because of something as fundamental as their gender identity or sexual orientation, and I am proud that Tahirih played a part in Allan’s journey.
Here at Tahirih, not only are our clients valued for who they are, but our staff as well; we bring different racial, ethnic, immigration, and religious backgrounds, as well as gender identities and sexual orientations. We are stronger because of it. I invite you to grow with us as we embrace our common humanity and celebrate, with pride, the incredible, unique, and worthy people we all are.