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Virtual Panel: Beyond Borders: LGBTQ+ Refugees, Immigrants, and Human Rights Today

December 16, 2021 | 6:30pm CDT


LGBTQ+ immigrants and refugees have unique experiences, routinely facing discrimination, persecution, and violence due to their identities. Same-sex relationships are criminalized in certain countries and are sometimes punishable by death, leaving many with no choice but to seek refuge elsewhere.  

In recent decades, the number of LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum-seekers in the United States has risen. While the U.S. is home to more than 900,000 LGBTQ+ immigrants, they are largely restricted from accessing health coverage and continue to have one of the highest uninsured rates. On top of this, many refugees face additional barriers in what is often a months-long process of applying for a work permit, which frequently includes heavy travel and occupational restrictions. 

Join us for a virtual panel discussion and hear personal stories from LGBTQ+ immigrants and refugees, as well as from legal experts.  

Panelists include Karolina López,  a Mexican transgender woman who is the current director of Mariposas Sin Fronteras, an organization that provides support to LGBTQ+ people in immigration detention centers; Pauline Park, a Korean transgender woman who was the first openly trans person chosen to be Grand Marshal of the New York City Pride March; Lynly Egyes, current Legal Director at Transgender Law Center (TLC) and former Legal Director at the Sex Workers Project (SWP) at the Urban Justice Center. Bek Erl, current paralegal with NIJC’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Initiative and former paralegal on NIJC’s Immigrant Legal Defense Project, will moderate the discussion.

Community Partners: GirlForward; Chicago Cultural Alliance; RefugeeOne; Decalogue Society of Lawyers; Chicago Refugee Coalition; Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

1.50 Illinois CLE Professional Responsibility Credits Available

Reservations are required. Members must sign in to take advantage of their member discount.

Presenting Sponsors

Susan L. Karkomi & Marvin J. Leavitt / Karkomi Family Fund

Lester & Edward Anixter Family Foundation

Brenda & Lance Feis

Mindy & Jonathan Gray


Bernbaum Family Charitable Fund, in honor of Harry & Harriet Bernbaum

Additional Funders

Morris & Judith Rosenzweig Family Foundation

Juliet & Michael Gray

Matthew Saleski

Laura Elizabeth Tanner

Golder Family Foundation

Media Partners

Community Partners: Center on Halsted; The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame; Equality Illinois; The Legacy Project; Making Gay History; Or Chadash of Temple Sholom of Chicago

Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement was developed by the Newseum. The Newseum is an affiliate of the Freedom Forum, whose mission is to foster First Amendment freedoms for all.

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