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Journal of Homosexuality
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Identifying the Needs of LGBTQ
Immigrants and Refugees in Southern
Arizona
Karma R. Chávez PhD

a

a

Department of Communication Arts , University of Wisconsin ,
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Published online: 02 Feb 2011.

To cite this article: Karma R. Chávez PhD (2011) Identifying the Needs of LGBTQ Immigrants
and Refugees in Southern Arizona, Journal of Homosexuality, 58:2, 189-218, DOI:
10.1080/00918369.2011.540175
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2011.540175

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Journal of Homosexuality, 58:189–218, 2011
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0091-8369 print/1540-3602 online
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2011.540175

Identifying the Needs of LGBTQ Immigrants
and Refugees in Southern Arizona

Downloaded by [University of North Carolina Charlotte] at 14:55 02 February 2015

KARMA R. CHÁVEZ, PhD
Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

This article reports on the results of a needs assessment conducted
for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) immigrants, asylees, refugees, and their allies in Southern Arizona, and
it is the first study of its kind in the United States. Utilizing interview data collected with migrants, allies, and service providers
in Tucson, Arizona, this article presents findings on the quality
of service provision provided to this very underserved community
pertaining to health care, housing, and legal services. The assessment shows that no services are provided specifically for LGBTQ
migrants, and most LGBTQ migrants turn to family and friends
when they have needs. The most significant result of this study pertains to the lack of cultural competence and an overall deficiency
in terms of cultural awareness when it comes to the specific needs
of LGBTQ migrants.
KEYWORDS community-based research, cultural competence,
immigration

Scholars of immigration and sexuality have suggested a profound heteronormativity in immigration scholarship and a clear assumption of lesbian, gay,
This article was created with financial support of the UCLA Williams Institute and the
Southern Arizona Women’s Foundation and was sponsored by the University of Arizona
Institute for LGBT studies. The author extends her thanks to the following people: Eithne
Luibhéid, Caren Zimmerman, Geovanna De la Ree, Oscar Jimenez, Cathy Busha, Kat
Rodriguez, Sally Stevens, Charee Mooney, Catie Willging, Sara McKinnon, John Elia, the blind
reviewers of this essay, activists with Coalición de Derechos Humanos, the numerous service
providers who offered their insight, and especially those LGBTQ immigrants and refugees as
well as their friends, family members, and allies who agreed to be interviewed.
Address correspondence to Karma R. Chávez, Department of Communication Arts,
University of Wisconsin, Vilas Hall, 821 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706. E-mail:
krchavez@wisc.edu
189

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bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people possessing citizenship in
their country of residence (Luibhéid, 2004; Richardson, 2000, 2005). These
blindspots in both kinds of scholarship lead to the erasure of the lives, experiences, and needs of those who are LGBTQ and not a citizen of the country
where they reside. As Heller (2009) notes, for example, “social work has virtually ignored the experiences of LGBT immigrants and asylum-seekers” (p.
294). As a part of filling the gap in research that attends to the lives and experiences of these often unnoticed groups, this article reports on findings from
a needs assessment conducted in Southern Arizona with LGBTQ immigrants,
refugees, asylees, and their allies pertaining to services available to them.
After conducting a year-long qualitative research project about a coalition
between a queer rights and a migrant rights organization in Tucson, Arizona,
I asked activists what service I could offer upon completion of my data collection using my skills as a scholar, and the result is this needs assessment.
After much searching, it became apparent that no such needs assessment
had been conducted in the United States, and so, while Tucson may seem
as if it is both a small metropolitan area and a unique region, this study provides a starting point for other scholars and service providers elsewhere who
are invested in these communities and issues in their own cities and towns.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
Immigration and LGBTQ concerns remain among the most significant—
and contentious—issues of the present. The admission of several million
legal immigrants to the United States since the passage of the Immigration
Act of 1965 has undoubtedly altered economies, communities, and politics. Significant research into the lives and impacts of these immigrants, and
related policymaking initiatives, has also increased. Equally, LGBTQ communities have grown in visibility and political significance and have been
subjects of extensive research and policymaking. However, with several
notable exceptions, these two groups have rarely been treated as overlapping (The Audre Lorde Project, 2004; Cantú, Jr., 2009; Heller, 2009;
Human Rights Watch & Immigration Equality, 2006; Luibhéid, 2002, 2004,
2008; Manalansan, 2006; Queers for Economic Justice, 2007; Coalición de
Derechos Humanos & Wingspan, 2006a, 2006b). Consequently, the experiences and needs of immigrants who are also LGBTQ have been little
researched or addressed in policymaking.
Located just 70 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, Tucson is both a
central crossing point for immigrants as well as an official refugee resettlement site. Additionally, Tucson has a significant LGBTQ population, and,
in 2007, The Advocate named it one of the best places for LGBT people
to live (“Tucson, Arizona: Best places to live,” 2007). Although Southern
Arizona is home to one of the largest LGBT community centers in the

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United States (Wingspan) and numerous organizations that offer services
and advocacy for immigrant and refugee populations (including but not limited to: Coalición de Derechos Humanos, the Samaritans, No More Deaths,
the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Social Services, and the Asylum
Project of Southern Arizona), those who are both immigrant or refugee and
LGBTQ often fall between the lines of LGBTQ and immigrant/refugee communities. This needs assessment sought the insight of LGBTQ immigrants
and refugees (referred to from here on as migrants1 ) and those closest
to them to determine what needs were adequately being met by service
providers and what needs were going unmet. The needs assessment is not
comprehensive, as it is not based on a representative sample of participants.
Nonetheless, it provides a broad picture of the situation for LGBTQ migrants
in Southern Arizona and an introduction to some significant concerns for
LGBTQ migrants more generally in the United States.
One other research report, Community at a Crossroads: U.S. Right Wing
Policies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit and Transgender Immigrants
of Color in New York City, produced by The Audre Lorde Project (2004), has
addressed the needs and problems of a specific LGBTQ migrant community.
Community at a Crossroads explores how contemporary conservative and
right-wing movements target immigrant of color communities in New York
City. Specifically, the report investigates how right-wing groups court immigrants of color who may share right-wing beliefs about morality, especially
pertaining to the laws that seek to afford equitable rights to LGBTQ people. Divulging how a diverse infrastructure facilitates increased conservative
ideologies within certain immigrant of color communities, Community at a
Crossroads investigates the specific impacts this has for LGBTST immigrants
of color. Similarly, this article documents some of the unique challenges
facing LGBTQ migrants in Southern Arizona, a border state with a distinct
history, geography, demography, and economy.2

LGBTQS, MIGRANTS, AND LGBTQ MIGRANTS
In this section, I briefly review scholarship pertaining to LGBTQs, migrants,
and LGBTQ migrants in regard to three key areas: health care, housing,
and legal concerns. This brief review demonstrates both the primary foci of
scholarship pertaining to these groups as well as the dearth of scholarship
that exists about/for LGBTQ migrants.

Health Care
The National Coalition on Health Care (2009a) reports that, in 2007, health
care spending represented 17% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP),

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and based on current trends, it will only continue to rise. In addition to
the exorbitant costs of health care, many people express concern about the
quality of care available and received. Patients confront many quality concerns including receiving too much or too little treatment, being subject to
the wrong kind of care, and facing discrimination based on health insurance
status (National Coalition of Health Care, 2009b). Many people living in the
United States share these problems, but those who are LGBTQ or migrant
have an additional set of considerations.
Some medical researchers and providers have increasingly tried to meet
the unique needs of LGBTQ patients, although this population continues
to experience health disparities as a result of discrimination and ignorance
(Gee, 2006; C. V. Johnson, Mimiaga, & Bradford, 2008; Makadon, Mayer,
Goldhammer, & Potter, 2007; Seaver, Freund, Wright, Tjia, & Frayne, 2008;
Welle, Fuller, Mauk, & Clatts, 2006; Williams & Freeman, 2007). Persistent discrimination leads some LGBTQ people to avoid seeking any treatment, while
others decide against full disclosure of sexual orientation or sexual practice
in order to avoid practitioners’ homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism (DeHart, 2008; “Gay men don’t tell,” 2004; Jackson, Johnson, & Roberts,
2008; Lee et al., 2008). Even as LGBTQ people do seek treatment and offer
full disclosure, research indicates that this population often receives a lower
quality of care than heterosexual or gender normative counterparts as many
medical practitioners still generally display a lack of sensitivity to LGBTQ
needs (Christensen, 2005; Lipton, 2004; McManus, 2006).
In addition to research on LGBTQ health care needs, some researchers
and practitioners also seek to better understand migrant health needs; however, migrant communities struggle due to factors including: legal and
institutional limitations, especially for undocumented people, cultural misunderstanding and insensitivity, and a dearth of health-related information
held by and supplied to these very diverse communities (Cristancho, Garces,
Peters, & Mueller, 2008; Derose, Escarce, & Lurie, 2007; Gurman & Becker,
2008). Many migrants do not possess health insurance, particularly when
they first come to the United States, and also if they only find low-wage
work (Clark, Surry, & Contino, 2009; “Health care for undocumented immigrants,” 2009; Ortega et al., 2007; Wheeler & Mahoney, 2008). Additionally,
many migrants either do not seek health care or find themselves subject to
cultural insensitivity because services are not linguistically appropriate or fail
to align with the migrant group’s cultural values (Kyeongra, 2007; Rios-Ellis
et al., 2008; Tsui, Saraiya, Thompson, Dey, & Richardson, 2007).
With few exceptions, most health-related research on LGBTQ communities assumes LGBTQ people’s U.S. citizenship, and most health research
on migrant communities assumes migrants’ heterosexuality. A growing body
of scholarly literature, however, investigates the health of LGBTQ migrants,
particularly men who have sex with men (MSM). This research has by
and large emphasized high risk and low risk behaviors and HIV/AIDS,

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the impacts of HIV/AIDS on migrant communities, and mental health concerns for LGBTQ migrants (Bianchi, Zea, Poppen, Reisen, & Echeverry,
2004; Hirsch, Higgins, Bentley, & Nathanson, 2002; Izazola-Licea, Gortmaker,
Tolbert, & De Gruttola, 2000; K. C. Organista, 2007; K. C. Organista, Carrillo,
& Ayala, 2004; K. C. Organista & Ehrlich, 2008; K. C. Organista, Organista,
Garcia de Alba, Castillo Morán, & Ureta Carrillo, 1997; P. B. Organista &
Organista, 1997; Sanchez et al., 2004; Worby & Organista, 2007; Yoshikawa,
Wilson, Chae, & Jih-Fei Cheng, 2004). Additional research has explored
HIV/AIDS and gender identity or homosexual practice as impetus for
migrating (Arguelles & Rivero, 1993; Bromer, 2006; Carrillo, 2004; Carrillo,
Fontdevila, Brown, & Gómez, 2008; Delgado Stempniak, 1999; Ford, 2005;
Guzmán, 1997; Hernández-Rosete Martínez, 2008; La Fountain-Stokes, 2005;
Qureshi, 1995). Little research on LGBTQ migrants has investigated other
areas relevant to their health needs, evidencing the very limited range of
knowledge professionals have about this group. Research about illnesses
other than HIV such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and cancer or health
care concerns within LGBTQ migrant communities is nonexistent.
The scholarly research indicates that LGBTQs, migrants, and LGBTQ
migrants have unique needs that often go unmet or receive inadequate
treatment. Whereas a significant body of scholarship addresses LGBTQs and
migrants separately, the biggest lacuna clearly exists for knowledge about
LGBTQ migrant health.

Housing
Some research studies have addressed housing as an important concern
for migrants, as well as stable housing as a predictor of higher economic
status and improved health (Holmes, 2006; Potocky & McDonald, 1995;
Strug & Mason, 2001). Most migrant and housing research, however, focuses
on migrants and homeownership, migrants’ ability to assimilate into new
communities, and segregation and integration of neighborhoods. A number of studies examine trends of migrant home purchasing and compare
those to trends among their citizen counterparts (Haan, 2007; McConnell &
Redstone Akresh, 2008; Myers & Liu, 2005). In a related manner, research
has explored how recent housing booms and the subsequent drop in the
market have impacted migrants (“Immigrants face brunt of housing crisis,”
2004; Painter & Zhou, 2008; Preston, 2007b). Additionally, some scholarship
evaluates migrant assimilation and adaptation in new communities, including which groups have been most successful and what barriers other groups
face (Dávila, Méndez, & Mora, 2003; Domínguez & Lubitow, 2008; GrimFeinberg, 2007; O’Brien, 2008; South, Crowder, & Chavez, 2005). Researchers
also examine how existing communities have responded to migrants by
either attempting to integrate them or taking steps to ensure segregation

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(Crowder, 1999; Goodkind & Foster-Fishman, 2002; Nelson, 2008). While
these latter bodies of work indirectly address some difficulties migrants have
pertaining to housing and community building, little, if any of this scholarship directly investigates the specific needs that migrant communities have
with housing. Research reports by nonprofit organizations do attend to many
of the difficulties and discrimination migrants face in regard to housing,
revealing a wide range of abuses (Border Action Network, 2008).
Unlike the research on migrants, LGBTQ youth and elderly people have
been the subject of the most research on LGBTQs and housing. Although this
research emphasizes the needs that these two groups have, young adults and
middle-aged LGBTQ people have largely been left out of scholarly explorations. The exception to this includes studies on housing discrimination
statutes that do not protect LGBTQ people (Gatling, 2005; Greif & McClellan,
2003; Herek, 2009; McClellan & Greif, 2004). Research on youth emphasizes
the importance of meeting the needs of LGBTQ homeless people, including
making shelters safe and addressing sexuality and gender identity as causes
of homelessness for young people (Dunne, Prendergast, & Telford, 2002;
Freundlich & Avery, 2004; Hunter, 2008; Mottet & Ohle, 2006; Van Leeuwen
et al., 2006). Research on the elderly focuses on the difficulties LGBTQ people have finding inclusive and sensitive retirement facilities, where they may
reside with same-sex partners if they have them, and receive care specific
to their needs (Cahill & South, 2002; de Vries, 2006; Donovan, 2001; M. J.
Johnson, Jackson, Arnette, & Koffman, 2005; Orel, 2004).
Importantly, no body of literature exists that addresses the needs or
experiences of LGBTQ migrants and housing. The report, Community at
a Crossroads, prepared by The Audre Lorde Project (2004), suggests that
right-wing influence on immigrant communities and service providers leads
to experiences of homophobia and heterosexism for lesbian, gay, bisexual,
two spirit, and transgender immigrants in New York City, which undoubtedly impacts their housing options. Yet, additional research is obviously
needed to understand LGBTQ migrants housing needs and experiences with
obtaining and sustaining housing.

Legal
The number and range of legal concerns facing migrants in the United
States comprise too many to adequately summarize. From Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids of job sites and apartment complexes to neighborhood Border Patrol checkpoints to racial profiling by
local law enforcement officials who choose to enforce federal immigration law, migrants, particularly migrants of color, regularly face frightening
legal concerns (Chávez, 2009; K. R. Johnson, 1995, 2000; Mirande, 2003;
Romero, 2006; Romero & Serag, 2005). Moreover, the complex legal process

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of immigration and naturalization and myriad stumbling blocks can prevent migrants from obtaining green cards or becoming citizens (Félix, 2008;
Gordon, 2007; Marciniak, 2006; Preston, 2007a).
A growing body of research explicates the complicated relationship
between sexuality and immigration law throughout U.S. history. This
research evidences how sexuality has often been used as a justification for exclusion, as gays and lesbians were formally excluded from
migrating to the United States until 1990 (Canaday, 2003; Foss, 1994;
Luibhéid, 2002; Minter, 1993–1994; Reynolds, 1980; Somerville, 2005a,
2005b). Moreover, until January 2010, HIV positive people continued
to be excluded from legal migration except under rare circumstances.
Related research explores specific legal experiences that LGBTQ migrants
face including the shifting lines between legal and illegal status, the
difficulties of obtaining asylum on the basis of sexual orientation or
gender identity, and the inability of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to
sponsor their same-sex partners to begin the process of legal immigration
and naturalization (Goodman, 1995; Hanna, 2005; Hazeldean & Betz,
2003; Holt, 2004; Juncker, 1998; Luibhéid, 2008; Morgan, 2006; Randazzo,
2005; Human Rights Watch & Immigration Equality, 2006; Wygonik,
2004–2005).
Transgender people experience unique difficulties with sponsoring their
partners, even if they have had sex reassignment surgery and are legally
married in another country. Because U.S. immigration laws mandate heteronormative family or a unique labor skill in order to legally migrate,
LGBTQ migrants must fit themselves into those forms if they are to legally
enter. Additionally, the looming threat of being detained in a federal or
privately-run immigration detention facility can be especially frightening for
LGBTQ people who face unique dangers due to harassment and violence
perpetuated by homophobia and transphobia.
In addition to the scholarly research on sexuality, immigration and U.S.
law, several local, national and transnational advocacy organizations provide legal services and advice for LGBTQ migrants. These organizations
include, but are not limited to: Immigration Equality,3 The Sylvia Rivera Law
Project,4 The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project,5 The Heartland
Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center,6 and The National Center for
Lesbian Rights.7 In addition to supplying services and information, these
organizations also provide advocacy and conduct research.
To summarize, the scholarship on LGBTQ and migrant populations pertaining to health care, housing, and legal concerns, when it exists, exists in
separate silos. Although vast bodies of scholarship can be found about these
groups—as separate groups—in very specific contexts, little research examines the intersecting identity of LGBTQ and migrant. This oversight within
much of the literature points not only to a scholarly dearth, but more importantly, it also suggests that these groups may be flying under the radar of
service provision.

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NEEDS ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Because no similar research of this kind has been conducted, this needs
assessment serves as a pilot study. The research consisted of 32 interviews
between January 2007 and June 2008 with three categories of participants:
1) 20 short interviews with service providers in Southern Arizona; 2) 7 fulllength, structured interviews with LGBTQ migrants; and 3) 5 full-length,
structured interviews with close allies/supporters of LGBTQ migrants. I
selected these particular categories of participants because I assumed each
would provide a different perspective on what this community needed and
was being offered. For example, in some instances, allies might be more
inclined to express a need they witness their friend or loved one experiencing than that person him or herself. Also, I consulted service providers
because their knowledge level about the needs of this population would
be a useful source of data to provide a more comprehensive view of the
situation for LGBTQ migrants, and I hoped they would help me reach more
LGBTQ migrants to interview.
After consulting with members of Wingspan, Southern Arizona’s
LGBT Community Center, questions for the study focused especially on
health, housing and legal needs, and participants were asked to identify:
1) knowledge of LGBTQ migrant needs and/or communities; 2) awareness
of resources available to LGBTQ migrants; 3) experiences with accessing
available resources; and 4) recommendations about the kinds of resources
that should be available. I audio recorded nine interviews that were then
transcribed by a professional transcriber. I recorded notes on all other interviews, and subsequently wrote them up in detail. All participants either
selected or were assigned pseudonyms.
It is important also to mention that a number of methodological difficulties impact this research project. First, the lack of any kind of formal
community of LGBTQ immigrants, asylees or refugees made accessing participants incredibly difficult. Traditional “snowballing” methods of finding
study participants largely led to dead-ends. For instance, while some participants initially expressed interest in telling their friends or family about the
study so they would also participate, upon further inquiry, several participants explained they were now unable to provide more contacts. Though I
made every attempt to ensure confidentiality and embody cultural sensitivity in relation to participants, my position as a university researcher, and my
lack of non-English language skills, likely added to these difficulties.
Second, talking about sexual identity, practice or orientation in relation
to communities and cultures that do not think of these things in the same
way as U.S. American culture presents challenges to this study. Although
all recruitment and consent materials spoke in terms of people identified
as LGBTQ or those women who have sex with women (WSWs) or men
who have sex with men (MSMs), the lack of language that explains sexual

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orientation, sexual or gender identity or practices in familiar or translatable
terms likely limited those who felt represented by the call for this study.
Third, issues of translation generally limited this study. Although all
study materials were translated into Spanish, and I had the help of a
Spanish-speaking research assistant, reaching into other language speaking
populations was not possible for this study. Considering that service providers
themselves often cannot find translators to help clients receive basic services,
finding translators in a range of languages for a study was not possible, or
perhaps even desirable. If such a translator could be found, should that translator have been used for conveying information about a person’s immediate
needs to a service provider or their general needs to an unknown researcher?
Finally, repeated conversations with local service providers revealed
that few people had specific information about the needs of LGBTQ
immigrants and refugees; the ones who did expressed reticence to put a
researcher in contact with those community members for a multitude of
reasons. Additionally, all service providers expressed an interest in learning
more about serving LGBTQ immigrants and refugees, and nearly all service
providers emphasized the importance of this research project. These informal interviews, thus, placed me in a difficult position. Providers affirmed the
importance of gathering this information at the same time that they, for very
legitimate reasons, refused additional assistance even if they potentially had
access to possible participants. In any case, the dearth of information garnered perhaps is most informative as it speaks to the difficulties of accessing
the lived experiences and needs of the most underrepresented communities.
Despite these limitations, the results of this needs assessment should
prove useful to scholars who work within LGBTQ and migrant communities,
as many of the needs expressed in this particular locale likely will resonate
with communities elsewhere. Attending to issues represented in this study
should be especially relevant to those who work closely with either LGBTQ
or migrant communities and yet, have not considered the overlaps between
the two communities.

FINDINGS
Service providers reported an interest in better meeting the needs of LGBTQ
migrants, but most possessed little or no knowledge about the specific needs
of LGBTQ migrants, and were unaware of whether this population used
their services. Roughly three quarters of LGBTQ migrant participants named
family or friends as the primary place they turn when they need help. All
LGBTQ migrants, allies and service providers reported being unaware of
any formal LGBTQ migrant community in Southern Arizona; many noted,
however that informal communities do exist. More than half of migrant and

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ally participants named a lack of culturally sensitive health care as a significant concern. In this instance, cultural competence meant being attuned
and responsive to individuals’ cultural backgrounds, LGBTQ status, and the
ways these impact one another. Migrant and ally participants all expressed a
desire for a larger culture of awareness, access, and welcome in all areas of
service provision (e.g., health care, legal, housing, education, employment).
A small group of doctors and health care providers reportedly offer vital
services to undocumented LGBTQ migrants whose lives might otherwise be
at risk, but they do so through informal networks that remain largely hidden for important reasons. I now turn to the results for the three areas of
investigation: health care, housing and legal concerns.

Health Care Concerns in Southern Arizona
Concerns about adequate health care proved to be among the most significant needs LGBTQ migrants and their allies expressed. Fears about
cultural insensitivity and the possibility of being followed and picked up
by immigration officials when seeking treatment persist for this community.
Moreover, due to the nature of funding provided to HIV/AIDS clinics and
service agencies, providers are often limited in the kinds of services they can
legally provide to different kinds of migrants. Stereotypes within communities about sexual orientation/identity and HIV positivity can also make open
communication and support very difficult for large numbers of migrants.

CULTURAL

INSENSITIVITY

The lack of health care services that center the unique cultural needs of this
marginalized group can create other problems. These problems range from
people’s inability to express their experiences to their health care providers
to a refusal to seek treatment at all. It is also important to understand that
many migrants who do seek care, may come to U.S. health care providers
with particular understandings of health and illness that a provider may
not know and that a migrant may not be able to or want to express. This
cultural disparity further creates a less-than-ideal cultural environment for
LGBTQ migrants who seek care.
The precarious situation of being both a migrant and LGBTQ can lead
to unique problems. For instance, one participant, Margarita, a lesbian and
Mexican immigrant in her mid-30s, told a story of going to her gynecologist.
She said: “I had a hard time—I don’t like my gynecologist, she’s a straight
woman doctor and I don’t think she has that understanding of . . . lesbians, I
don’t know . . . like I feel, she feels awkward asking me all of these straight
questions, you know?”

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Margarita went on to explain that her doctor not only did not seem
to understand, but she also got frustrated when Margarita told her that the
physical examination caused pain. It is unclear whether Margarita tried to
speak with her doctor about being a lesbian or whether Margarita did not
feel comfortable telling her. Either way, this doctor demonstrated insensitivity by both assuming the patient’s heterosexuality and expecting the patient
to openly communicate about personal matters.
Margarita, and most of the participants in this study, has very good
English skills and has lived in the United States for a number of years.
However, not all or even most LGBTQ migrants have these privileges. This
suggests that another important dimension of cultural sensitivity involves
language. For instance, Dora, a nurse at an HIV clinic and an ally to LGBTQ
migrants, explained that many patients who come to her clinic have no
English or Spanish skills. Individuals from African countries may have someone who can translate for them for a short amount of time, but Dora said
she often simply uses a kind of sign language to communicate health-related
information to patients. This language disparity is also a widespread problem
for immigrant and refugee service providers. After Arizona residents passed
Proposition 300 in 2006, which mandates proof of citizenship or legal residency in order to enroll in state-sponsored education programs, including
language courses, these problems are only likely to exacerbate.

IMPORTANCE

OF DISCREET SERVICES

No participants reported knowledge of any health services provided
uniquely for LGBTQ migrants. Nonetheless, an informal network of service providers who are attuned to the unique and complicated needs of this
group does subsist in Southern Arizona. This informal network exists mostly
between HIV/AIDS service providers, as this particular group’s health concerns are often the most urgent. These service providers do much of their
work quietly, as they do not want to draw unnecessary attention to their
clients or the clinics where they offer services, and for legitimate reasons.
As Amber, an ally who works for an AIDS service agency stated, “it’s sort of
like being part of a conspiracy, you know. We know there are people here,
they know people are here. We’re all working together because this is, you
know, bigger than which side of the border they belong on . . . we have to
be kind of quiet.”
Members of the public may express anger or concern with providing
services to migrants, some of who are undocumented. Additionally, if it
is widely known that certain clinics supply services to migrants, especially
those who are LGBTQ or HIV positive, not only could this draw the attention
of Border Patrol or the Tucson Police Department, but also those who need
services may not seek them out of fear.

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Although clinics attempt discretion, information about the services provided and the clientele spreads, and as information disperses, immigration
and law enforcement officials also receive it. This can create a fear of deportation for migrants who receive particular kinds of health services. Dora
told the story of one client, an undocumented man from Mexico who also
owned a car. One day after leaving the clinic, he got into his car and as
soon as he started driving, the police began following him. They soon pulled
him over and they did not ask him for his license and registration; instead,
they requested to know whether he was legally in the country. The man
explained that he could not prove that and so he was turned over to immigration officials, deported, and despite owning his car, it was taken from
him. This story evidences one of the most significant health concerns for all
undocumented people. The fear of being deported is perhaps strongest for
those who are also targeted by police profiling, such as transgender people
(Amnesty International USA, 2005). Reports indicate that transgender people who do not effectively “pass” as men or women are at increased risk
for arbitrary arrest. Surveillance and concerns about being surveyed leads to
fear, which can prevent people from seeking treatment. After the passage
of Arizona’s SB1070, a state law that mandates police ask for proof of legal
status from anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being in the United States
without authorization, it is possible that such fears will only increase, even
as the legality of SB1070 continues to be challenged in the court system.
This becomes even direr as most migrants know that receiving services
from certain facilities such as the University Medical Center puts them at risk
of having ICE called if they cannot prove citizenship. Reports around the
United States demonstrate the fear of deportation due to seeking health care
as a legitimate concern. A growing number of hospitals repatriate very sick
or injured undocumented or newly arrived documented immigrants (Sontag,
2008a, 2008b).
Depending on a person’s immigration status, instead of immediate
deportation, a migrant may find himself or herself in a private or federally
run ICE detention facility. If a migrant is LGBTQ, that person may be subject
to additional harassment in detention. If that person is ill with a disease such
as HIV, the person may not receive adequate medical care, as happened to
Victoria Arellano, a transgender migrant who died in ICE detention in 2007
(American Civil Liberties Union, 2007; Feinberg, 2007; Immigration Equality,
2005; Patel & Jawetz, 2007; Schmitz, 2007; Stop Prisoner Rape, 2004).
In situations where a person is immediately deported, Dora and others
with whom she works have additional informal connections with health
providers in Mexico. These contacts provide information on local clinics
around that country where clients can receive medication and treatment after
they are deported. Unfortunately, Mexico represents only one country to
which people may be deported. Dora and the organization where she works
represent only one health care provider. These resources are absolutely vital.

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Those providing them deserve praise, but they are forced to offer basic
services under deplorable constraints.

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FEARS

OF REVEALING STATUS

A lack of culturally sensitive health care and the fear of being deported for
receiving services from a clinic that may be surveyed by law enforcement
pose two dilemmas related to health for LGBTQ migrants. Another significant concern pertains to fears over revealing one’s sexual orientation or
identity or HIV positive status within one’s migrant community. Joan, an ally
who works for a local HIV/AIDS service provider explained that one of the
largest obstacles that prevents people from receiving the care they need are
the stereotypes and assumptions that some communities have about people living with HIV. This means that people who are HIV positive and/or
engage in nonheterosexual sex feel they have to keep their status a secret. As
Joan and Amber explained, this leads to a lack of community and support.
People’s status can be used to level power over them.
This can perhaps be most severe for the undocumented. As Joan noted,
“because if they’re here, they’re HIV positive and, you know, the wrong people find out that can get them moved right out.” To clarify, prior to January
2010, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, people could be deemed
“inadmissible” to the United States if they were HIV positive. This meant that
unless a person could qualify for an HIV waiver or if they were exempted
as an asylum seeker or through the Convention Against Torture, that person could not become a legal permanent resident. If an immigrant living
in the United States was undocumented, and the Department of Homeland
Security deported them, they could never enter the United States legally.
For HIV positive people, the inability to return had added significance, as
they may have been unable to receive the same health care they could
in the United States. Although the ban on HIV positive people has been
lifted, Immigration Equality, a national organization that works for the rights
of LGBTQ migrants, has indicated that it continues to see some problems
with the implementation of the end of the ban that adversely impacts HIV
positive migrants (Immigration Equality, 2010). Obviously HIV status is not
a concern for all LGBTQ migrants; however, it has been documented that
lack of access to health care for HIV/AIDS coupled with LGBTQ status are
significant reasons people choose to migrate (Hernández-Rosete Martínez,
2008).
Joan went on to explain that in the United States, undocumented
migrants can sometimes receive care for HIV through clinics that receive government and other grant money unattached to proof of citizenship. However,
for the most part, undocumented people are unable to receive care for other
ailments. Joan told the story of a gay undocumented client:

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A client in this agency is HIV positive, who’s been taking care of his
health, and takes care of his mom, and, you know, has a brother who’s
developmentally delayed who he takes care of, he doesn’t have documents, and he needs dialysis . . . And he’s probably going to die of liver
failure because he can’t get dialysis because he’s not [here legally].

This story shows how this gay, HIV-positive, undocumented migrant not
only needs treatment for ailments outside of HIV that he is unable to receive
because of his immigration status, but it also shows the complex networks
in which LGBTQ migrants exist. This man’s family relies on him, and due
to his intersecting situation with health, sexuality, and migrant status, he is
unable to meet his own health needs, let alone those of his family. Meeting
the health needs of LGBTQ migrants, thus, not only involves addressing
individual needs, but also those of family and community.
These health care concerns provide only a mere glimpse into the complex health situations facing many LGBTQ migrants. Participants expressed
concerns about cost of physical health services. Additionally, some participants desired mental health treatment, but they could not afford to receive
such services. Leo, a gay immigrant from Mexico suggested: “I would like
counseling and I know that therapy’s kind of expensive, and you know,
because of what I do and the lifestyle I have, sometimes it’s more difficult
to access that.”
Those participants who had not experienced any physical or mental
health difficulties often stated their gratitude for their health. Nevertheless,
even those in good health still need to see a health care provider for regular
checkups showing the importance to address health concerns for the benefit
of all LGBTQ migrants.

Housing Concerns in Southern Arizona
Participants revealed a range of problems or concerns pertaining to housing,
which include the ability to obtain and keep housing without discrimination
for migrant or LGBTQ status and the difficulty of making a home without
possessing the needed cultural resources.

FINDING

AND KEEPING HOUSING

Migrants, especially those who are undocumented or who sit in the limbo of
a multitude of legal processes are vulnerable in terms of housing. Although
subject to legal challenges, a number of municipalities have passed ordinances that prohibit property owners from renting to undocumented people
(O’Brien, 2008). Additionally, a number of states and towns have proposed
such ordinances, including the state of Arizona.8 Importantly, those who are

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203

also LGBTQ share many obstacles faced by the general migrant population.
This section, thus, reports on concerns that are relevant to LGBTQ migrants,
but they also may have relevance to the general migrant population.
A number of the participants are students or young people who
have faced a series of obstacles pertaining to housing. These concerns
have become especially relevant to them and their loved ones, as Arizona
laws have tightened around undocumented rights. Research indicates the
prevalence of “mixed-status” families where some people are citizens or
legal permanent residents, while others have undocumented status (Fix &
Zimmerman, 2001). Tightening laws pose unique difficulties for those families with mixed status since those who have residency or citizenship can
face penalty for knowingly helping those who are undocumented.9 It is
unclear what “mixed status” means for LGBTQ migrants whose kin connections are often not legally legitimized, and no research addresses this
question. However, knowing that many housing antidiscrimination laws do
not cover LGBTQ people, including within Arizona, issues are undoubtedly
more complicated for this population.
According to participants, the anti-immigrant culture created by these
tightening of laws has compelled a number of apartment agencies and
landlords to require a social security number or other proof of legal residence or citizenship in order to rent housing. Margarita explained the range
of experiences for migrants without documents, “I know people who are
renting, but they’re renting with fake IDs and stuff. There’s no room for
them, especially with the law that is going to fine landlords.” This illustrates some of the difficulties for migrants obtaining housing generally.
While Margarita speaks specifically about undocumented people, most of
the participants interviewed have family or friend connections with this
population even if they themselves have citizenship or legal residency.
Such concerns exist for the general population, but can be exacerbated for
LGBTQs.
A number of participants had or knew someone who had, at various
points, been thrown out of their homes because of their sexuality or gender identity. Most of these individuals turned to other family members or
friends as opposed to any service agencies or providers. Rosa remarked,
“when they [my parents] disowned me based on the LGBT stuff, I—like my
support system was my friends. I didn’t go to—like they kicked me out of
the house—and I didn’t go to public venues, I just went to my friends. So
I’m really just not aware of anything . . .”
Other than friends, most participants had no information about where
to seek help in the event that they found themselves without housing. For
example, in discussing the available resources to someone who loses housing or needs legal advice, Margarita quipped, “I wouldn’t know where to
go, you know?” Hurlevent, a gay Mexican immigrant and university student,

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recently got in a fight with his mother over his sexuality, and he currently lives with his great aunt. When asked about housing options, he
responded, “I honestly have no idea because a lot of things, my great-aunt
does, like she’s the person [who gave me] a place to stay, so . . . I don’t
know.”
As national statistics reveal, LGBTQ young people are more likely to
be homeless than their heterosexual counterparts as somewhere between
20% and 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ (Ray, 2006). While Eon Youth
Lounge, a “hang-out” space for youth aged 23 and under provides resources
for homeless youth in Southern Arizona, and specifically seeks to help queer
youth,10 no participants mentioned Eon as a resource they knew. This suggests that young LGBTQ migrants are in a more precarious position than
their citizen counterparts. Moreover, those migrants who are HIV positive
confront an even more difficult situation.

A

LACK OF ADEQUATE HOUSING RESOURCES

While Hurlevent and other participants affiliated with the University of
Arizona reported that they would likely turn to the university to discover
resources pertaining to housing, they each indicated not having any idea
what other migrants might do. This problem can be compounded for those
with limited or no English language skills or knowledge of U.S. culture. As
Joan explained, while a number of agencies help refugees to obtain housing,
helping them to learn about the appliances or how to cook with unfamiliar
foods are not tasks Joan has time to do. She commented about a woman to
whom Joan regularly delivered food boxes. Joan explained that the woman
suggested,
“It’d be nice if you showed us how to cook this stuff.” And I thought,
“Yeah, it’d be really nice, and I’m not going to be back here for another
month because I don’t have the time to spend the day to do a cooking
lesson.” But I did do a little bit; like I explained what cheese is . . . and
they kind of like the idea. They had every stick of butter I had ever
brought them.

Joan’s comment suggests the lack of resources she has as an ally and service
provider to help migrants to actually make a home in the United States once
they are inside a house or apartment.
Joan’s story reveals the complexity of housing concerns depending on a
migrant’s cultural knowledge. Some are concerned with the ability to secure
housing, and some are concerned with keeping housing and not losing it
due to others’ disdain for their LGBTQ or HIV-positive status. Still, other
migrants’ housing concerns pertain to keeping a home in a foreign country
with no knowledge of or resources to learn how to do so.

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These problems are compounded for LGBTQ people when some service agencies that are tasked with locating housing for migrants claim that
they simply do not have any LGBTQ clients they serve. An e-mail response
to an inquiry about LGBTQ refugees from a resettlement coordinator at
a very prominent refugee resettlement agency in Southern Arizona stated:
“Unfortunately I don’t have any contacts with LGBT clients. In most cultures I deal with, homosexuality is hidden and something to be ashamed
of.” When I pressed further, a supervisor of this organization stepped in and
explained to me,
The issues some of our clients may have, have not, to this point, been
brought to our attention through our work with them. However, we have
a counselor here familiar with issues and who is aware of the agencies
and groups to which clients can be referred when and if issues do arise.

Despite repeated attempts, no one ever provided me information regarding
this counselor. The discomfort and lack of knowledge members in this particular organization expressed would suggest that an LGBTQ client would
feel constrained from asking questions or offering information that might
reveal their sexuality. Such constraints potentially impact all aspects of a
refugee’s life, which restricts what a refugee can ask and consequently how
helpful this organization can be. This organization’s silence on LGBTQ issues
likely says to new refugees that LGBTQ issues are not an accepted or important part of U.S. American culture or that it is an issue that a refugee should
not bring up.
This silence and discomfort with LGBTQ issues has potentially profound
implications. Resettlement organizations function as refugees’ first introduction to the place of resettlement. If refugees come in family units, they are
typically resettled as a family in an apartment. That apartment usually exists
in a complex where other resettled refugees from the country of origin live.
If an adult refugee is resettled as an individual, that person is typically given
same-sex roommates from their same country of origin. These choices in
how resettling occurs are premised upon an assumption that refugees are
heterosexual and that if they came from the same country, refugees’ experiences are essentially the same. In this kind of situation, where individuals
are placed in intimate settings based only on their shared country of origin,
it is easy to see how an LGBTQ person might face difficulties. If resettlement agencies claim to have no knowledge of LGBTQ refugees, and they
cannot offer information about unique services provided for LGBTQ people
to an outside observer, an LGBTQ refugee would likely not be able to turn
to these resettlement agencies for guidance or help. If resettlement agencies
are insensitive to issues pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity,
this presents yet another obstacle for an already disenfranchised group of
people from the moment they enter their new home in resettlement.

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Legal Concerns in Southern Arizona
A number of participants in this study never had specific legal problems
that required them to seek professional help or advice. Additionally, only
one of the lawyers interviewed reported that he might have had a couple of clients who were LGBTQ and migrant. Even a lawyer whose peers
repeatedly suggested she would have multiple contacts with LGBTQ migrant
clients, reported that she did not have any nor did she have any helpful
information. While all of these lawyers expressed interest in the results of
this research project, they could provide little insight.
Border militarization and the shifting line between legal and illegal status suggest that legal concerns persist for all or many migrants (Luibhéid,
2008). Importantly, I conducted all of these interviews prior to the passage
and signing of SB1070, and I can only speculate that it has exacerbated
existing problems and fears for all migrants. Even as a judge blocked some
of the more controversial dimensions of the new law, initial reports from
organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLUAZ)
highlight significant instances of harassment and profiling against people of
color (ACLUAZ, 2010). Although most participants in this study had not faced
legal problems, they remained a concern. For instance, Margarita explained:
I just feel that it’s getting hard to give out support . . . to family and
friends that need help because of the laws and all of these consequences.
I guess I’m thinking about illegal immigrants . . . my best friend went to
get me in Mexico [after I] was deported, and . . . I don’t think she would
do it now because now it’s like the laws are stiffer.

Although Margarita has since obtained legal permanent residency, she worries about the impacts of laws for people who do not have legal status and
who might be deported. Whereas years ago making the journey from Mexico
to the United States proved far less dangerous, and friends and family could
more easily help repatriated people return, such avenues prove no longer
viable. Moreover, the increase in ICE detention facilities around the country
and indefinite detention for many migrants arrested means that migrants fear
not only deportation, but also extended detention stays.
Such concerns are also stark for LGBTQ people who though here with
documents, do not have permanent legal status. Jenny, Rosa’s U.S. American
partner, states:
with Rosa, she’s not a citizen and her green card expires in 2015 and
if I were a man, it would be as easy as going to the courthouse, but
because she’s LGBT and immigrant we don’t have that security. As well
as, I don’t think there’s too many resources for LGBT immigrants who—I
have a friend whose on a visa and he’s here studying and he came out
to his mom a couple of weeks ago, and she freaked out and she told

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him that she’s going to take him to Mexico and lock him up in an insane
asylum and he has no idea where to go or what to do because he’s now
trying to do everything on his own.

The precarious nature of lacking permanency in the United States is clearly
made more difficult due to one’s LGBTQ status.
Additionally, and as stated above, issues of law enforcement surveillance remain significant for many LGBTQ migrants as some constantly worry
that they will be harassed, arrested, or deported. The close relationship
between local police departments and the Border Patrol augment both the
fear that many feel and the actual surveillance and harassment that takes
place. Several city, county, and state law enforcement agencies in Arizona
have signed up for training to enforce immigration laws though they are not
required to do so, which further produces a climate of oppression and fear.11
Moreover, recent reports on human rights abuses in Southern Arizona, report
numerous instances of abuse at the hands of law enforcement (Border Action
Network, 2008). As mentioned above, such reports have increased after the
passage of SB1070, and even before it was set to take effect at the end of
July 2010 (ACLUAZ, 2010).
Due to a history of law enforcement profiling of LGBTQs, immigrants,
and people of color, LGBTQ migrants find themselves at an unfortunate
crossroads in relation to the law. Even when LGBTQ migrants do nothing wrong, they often fear being stopped or turned over to immigration
officials. When asked about the climate for immigrants and refugees in
Southern Arizona, Will West, the partner of an asylum seeker from Peru,
stated: “Very unsafe. They are always having to look out for the Tucson
Police Department, the Border Patrol, and law enforcement’s assumption is
always that people are undocumented. So there’s always that fear, even for
people who were born here.” Will West went on to tell of an incident that
happened to his partner:
Everyone who looks a certain way is assumed to be undocumented and
from Mexico. My partner, ‘Mando’ is Peruvian, and he is assumed to be
Mexican. When Border Patrol picked him up after an [car] accident he
was in, they said to me, ‘We’re sorry, we thought he was Mexican.’ Of
course they still took him in.

Will West finally negotiated to get Mando released as he had done nothing
wrong; however, Mando’s legitimate status as an asylum seeker, his access
to a paid lawyer, and his connection with his White partner undoubtedly
helped to make his process smoother than for many others. Even with all of
these connections, Mando remained traumatized.
Will West’s story highlights the very material impacts of border militarization. Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which

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K. R. Chávez

authorizes local law enforcement officers to perform federal immigration functions, perpetuates such problems for migrants (Archibold, 2009).
Perhaps especially in Arizona, migrants, thus, confront a legal complex
comprised of local police, Border Patrol, ICE, the presence of numerous detention facilities, existence of numerous immigration courts, and the
constant threat that one mistake or one action that gets perceived as a mistake may alter a person’s chances of a stable status in the United States.
Considering the problem with profiling LGBTQs, and the lack of laws
that protect people’s LGBTQ status in the United States, the situation is
exacerbated for LGBTQ migrants.

CONCLUSIONS
Clearly, LGBTQ migrants face obstacles and possess needs that are not currently being adequately met in Southern Arizona despite some people’s best
efforts. The array of needs that LGBTQ migrants have cannot be addressed
due to a host of legal and financial constraints; however, steps can be taken
to meet some of the needs that this population has. I intend the recommendations to be informative for those agencies and providers who already
offer services to LGBTQ and migrant populations, and that presumably
have LGBTQ migrants who use or might need their services. Additionally,
the practical recommendations offered here should illuminate crucial areas
of scholarly inquiry for researchers who do work closely connected with
marginalized communities.

Recommendation #1: Culturally Sensitive Services
In general, all services need to become more culturally sensitive, which in
this case means being attuned and responsive to individuals’ cultural backgrounds, their LGBTQ status, and the ways these impact one another. In
taking the first steps toward achieving cultural competence, service providers
should not take a “one size fits all” form but instead tailor the approach
to address some of the larger ethnic groups in the region. Such efforts
could be complemented by offering information about services in Spanish,
as well as other major languages such as Somali Bantu, Ka Swahili, Nuer,
Dinka, French, Serbian, Bosnian, Russian, Punjabi, Farsi, and Arabic. These
efforts should also pay particular attention to the needs of women, whose
perspectives remain largely absent.
Based on this assessment, it seems especially urgent that health care
providers implement practices and policies that reflect cultural competence,
based on the needs of the different LGBTQ migrant groups they serve.
Health care providers should keep in mind that such policies should not

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require migrants to “come out” in order to receive care that is sensitive
to nonheterosexuals. In-take forms and interview protocols health care
providers use can be revised to reflect an awareness of a multitude of
sexual practice, relationships and gender identities. Moreover, achieving cultural competence also involves affordable health care options that migrants,
LGBTQ people, and migrant LGBTQ people, can access. The availability of
such resources must be widely publicized.

Recommendation #2: LGBTQ Migrant Taskforce
Additionally, one participant, Leo, suggested that it would be helpful if services could be provided for LGBTQ migrants using a sort of trading system
where LGBTQ migrants felt as if they were giving something back for services received. Similarly, Amber mentioned one action step that a number
of transgender people in Tucson have taken. She stated:
. . . one of the things that happened differently in Tucson, which I really,
really like, is a lot of the trans-people in Tucson—not a lot, a few of
us—said, “Wait a minute, this isn’t how we want to be treated.” And we’ve
made an effort to reach out to providers and say, “Look, we’d like to offer
you some training and some information. We’re the folks who are going
to be coming to you for these, you know, mental health and health care.”

Taking Amber and Leo’s suggestions together, creating a taskforce comprised of LGBTQ migrants, their families and their allies could utilize one key
resource that LGBTQ migrants have to offer: their knowledge of their own
needs. Those who have successfully provided services to LGBTQ migrants
offer vital knowledge on which future efforts should be built. One way to
create a culture of awareness, access, and welcome is by providing trainings
(which could be complemented by information packets) to local service
providers, based on input from the taskforce of LGBTQ migrants and their
allies. Modeled on the “SafeZone” program at many colleges and universities, whereby faculty, staff, and student leaders show their support for
LGBTQ people by displaying a sign with a SafeZone logo, those who have
been trained can display a flyer created by the taskforce. The names of organizations that have completed this training should be advertised in venues
where LGBTQ migrants are likely to spend time and in media they are likely
to consume including radio and television spots.
Legal service providers who have received information and training
about LGBTQ migrants needs should then offer a regular clinic at a venue
that is comfortable for migrant LGBTQ people. Moreover, resettlement
agencies would have access to information about the particular needs of
LGBTQ people, which they could display prominently, thereby suggesting
an environment of inclusivity. Moreover, resettlement agencies could

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K. R. Chávez

include LGBTQ issues in their intake process and cultural sensitivity training
during refugee orientation. While such a taskforce and training would
not solve all the problems facing LGBTQ migrants, it would be a first
important step toward creating a climate where LGBTQ migrants no longer
fall between the lines.

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NOTES
1. The term “migrant” is used to indicate the often shifting status between asylee, asylum seeker,
refugee, and undocumented and documented immigrant. See Luibhéid, 2005.
2. A version of this article was also published as a community report: “Between the Lines:
Identifying the Needs of LGBTQ Immigrants and Refugees in Southern Arizona” (Tucson, AZ: University
of Arizona Institute for LGBT Studies, 2009).
3. Web site: http://www.immigrationequality.org/. Contact information: 40 Exchange Place, 17th
Floor New York, NY 10005; phone: 212-714-2904, fax: 212-714-2973.
4. Web site: http://www.srlp.org/. Contact information: 322 8th Avenue, 3rd Floor New York, NY
10001; phone: 212-337-8550, fax: 212-337-1972.
5. Web site: http://www.firrp.org/. Contact information: 2601 N. Hwy 79, P.O. Box 654, Florence,
AZ 85232; phone: 520-868-0191, fax: 520-868-0192; E-mail: firrp@firrp.org. The Florence Project helps
provide services to people in detention only.
6. Web site: http://www.immigrantjustice.org/. Contact information: 208 S. La Salle St., Suite 1818,
Chicago, IL 60604; phone: 312-660-1370.
7. Web site: http://www.nclrights.org/. Contact information: 870 Market Street, Suite 370, San
Francisco CA 94102; phone: 415-392-6257, fax: 415-392-8442, E-mail: info@nclrights.org
8. In May 2008, then Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law HB 2842, which criminalizes “the
act of knowingly renting or selling properties that will be used by human smugglers as drop houses”
(Palmer, 2008). Although this bill does not necessarily criminalize anyone who rents to an undocumented
person, it is easy to see how this bill opens the door for such measures. In March 2008, HB 2625, which
was designed to require landlords to ask for proof of citizenship in order to rent, passed the House
Appropriations Committee, but eventually failed to garner additional support (Fischer, 2008).
9. A number of states, including Arizona have proposed laws that would make knowingly
harboring or transporting an undocumented person a punishable offense (Duda, 2009).
10. See: http://www.eonyouth.org/index.htm
11. “Delegation of Immigration Authority Section 287(g) Immigration and Nationality Act,” U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, http://www.ice.gov/partners/287g/Section287_g.htm

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