LGBT Human Rights


Homophobia in many countries results in horrific violence. Many people from the LGBTQ community are beaten, killed, tortured, psychologically tormented, and/or jailed because of their sexual orientation. In 86 countries, it is illegal to be gay. Often the police will not protect individuals from abuse. Indeed, they may be the worst perpetrators.

Since 1994, the U.S. government has permitted individuals to seek and obtain asylum in the United States if they have been persecuted in their home countries due to their sexual orientation. However, absent legal representation, it remains difficult for such individuals to receive asylum.

Since 2008, the Ascentria Immigration Legal Assistance Program has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of LGBT asylum seekers seeking assistance. We believe that this is because Massachusetts is considered one of the most LGBT friendly states in the United States. Also, Massachusetts has one of the best health care systems for low income individuals and is known nationally for activism on LGBT issues.

In response to a recognized need for services, Ascentria founded the LGBT Human Rights Legal Protection Project.

What is the LGBT Human Rights Legal Protection Project?

The program was created to: (1) provide legal representation and advice to LGBT asylum seekers; (2) collaborate with local agencies, organizations, and churches, to ensure that clients receive culturally-sensitive social services; and (3) educate our community about the human rights conditions of the LGBT community in developing countries. Ascentria currently represents LGBT asylum seekers state-wide and provides mentorship to attorneys handling LGBT asylum cases nation-wide. We also collaborate closely with the LGBT Asylum Support Task Force to ensure that our clients receive emotional and social support throughout the asylum process.

For more information about LGBT asylum seekers in Massachusetts, please see below:

Boston Globe, “Seeking a Home Away from Homophobia,”

Worcester Telegram & Gazette, “Beatings, persecution fuel bids for residency
How do I make an appointment with the LGBT Human Rights Legal Protection Project?

For more information about services for LGBT individuals or to make an appointment, please contact the legal office at 774.243.3045, or In general, all information provided to our attorneys is confidential and will not be released outside of our office without the individual's permission.

How can I get involved in national LGBT Asylum advocacy efforts?

To get involved in national advocacy efforts on behalf of LGBT asylum seekers, visit the website of Immigration Equality.

The LGBT Human Rights Legal Protection Project partners with Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive individuals, to ensure that LGBT asylum seekers receive legal representation.
Immigration Equality

The LGBT Human Rights Legal Protection Project partners with the Worcester LGBT Asylum Support Task Force, a project of the Hadwen Park Congregational Church, to provide social services and support to LGBT asylum seekers during the legal process.

The LGBT Human Rights Legal Protection Project partners with AIDS Project Worcester, a program that provides comprehensive services to persons living with HIV/AIDS and those at greatest risk for the disease, to identify clients in need of services