Commentary: Why refugees’ rights are LGBTQI rights

LGBTQ Community Centers all around the U.S. are demonstrating in solidarity with the immigrant community and against the latest Executive Order that bans refugees and singles out immigrants. If you have wondered why, here are the reasons:

1. LGBTQI people are often refugees. They flee persecution and death and seek refugee status in the U.S. This is especially true for refugees from Countries that are now under the ban

2.  LGBTQI people are also immigrants. They emigrated from Countries where their relationships are not recognized, and their lives are threatened solely because the are LGBTQI. There are hundreds of thousands of bi-national LGBTQI couples in the U.S.

3. Many newly married LGBTQI people are not yet U.S. citizens but hold their legal status through Green Cards. The ban has created great confusion among green card holders and individuals who are coming from the Countries affected by the ban, and might now have their green card revoked. They cannot travel and their families cannot come and visit them.

4. For centuries (and still today) LGBTQI people have been the target of a hateful rhetoric that criminalizes us, shames us and deprives us of full recognition under the law. We cannot be bystanders when hate and rhetoric are singling out people due to their sexual orientation, gender identities and/or religious beliefs.

5. President Trump is congratulating himself for not interfering with our Federal Protections through an executive order. Meanwhile, he and the people he surrounds himself with, supports FADA (First Amendment Defense Act).

This comprehensive house bill allows discrimination based on religious exclusions. An executive order can be undone by the next president, a bill requires the majority of votes (which he has) and it is harder to rescind.

Max Disposti is founder and executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside.

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