LGBTQ+ mass migration is not a solution
Relocating a substantial portion of the global population to more tolerant places will prove impossible.
What differentiates most of the LGBTQ+ experience of young people today and mine when I came out twenty-two years ago is the global availability of information. Whether in Sousse or Minneapolis, young people with same-sex attraction can now access the same online resources, such as films like “La Vie D’Adele” or “Ìfé.” They know their rights are fulfilled in neighboring countries and now realize they are entitled to them. That wasn’t the case until recently, and it is a game-changer.
We cannot console a girl in Lucknow who has fallen in love with a classmate and is forced by her parents into an arranged marriage by saying, “Don’t worry, maybe in two generations, there will be a happy lesbian couple living here.” Such words offer her little solace.
So, she is left with two options: passing on her life or moving. Migration, even asylum, is often only viable for the most privileged: those who are English-speaking, possess diplomas or have financial means. I know I left France for the US to come out and use my studies as an excuse. Meanwhile, homophobia weighs even more heavily on the poor, the marginalized, women, and those with families. They continue to endure harassment, mass arrests, and hate speech, which certain governments, as observed in Chechnya and elsewhere, employ as tools to “encourage” and ultimately force LGBTQ+ individuals to leave.
I anticipate criticism for this perspective, but Braverman is right on one thing: mass migration is not a sustainable solution for LGBTQ+ people. We must accelerate global social change on LGBTQ+ issues, which requires money and international commitments.
There is no denying that Braverman’s comments on immigration are a political ploy. However, it is essential to note her remarks on LGBTQ+ asylum claims were also repackaged in the media.
These are the headlines: (a)
This is what Braverman said: (b)
“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if, in effect, simply being gay or a woman and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin is sufficient to qualify for protection.”
Which one is worse: (a) or (b)?
Braverman did not say discrimination is not grounds for asylum; she said “fear of discrimination” isn’t.
She is right. It would be too many people. I announced in 2014 that a wave of Pink Migration is coming. I suspect anti-LGBTQ+ laws, policies, and harassment in Kampala, Moscow, or Beirut are intentionally designed to push LGBTQ+ people to leave and are only the beginning.
While it’s easy to be outraged by Braverman’s comments, what’s truly outrageous is how little we’ve invested in promoting LGBTQ+ equality globally and ensuring LGBTQ+ people benefit from development efforts. The combined budgets of the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, The Trevor Project, Lambda Legal, GLAD, the LGBTQ+ Centers in LA, New York, and the myriad of other LGBTQ+ organizations in the United States amount to billions, dwarfing the few million dollars of development aid targeted to LGBTQ+ people.
Migration isn’t a panacea. Relocating a substantial portion of the global population to more accepting places is impractical, especially when many nations that were once safe havens for LGBT individuals are now introducing formidable immigration barriers.
Furthermore, migration is seldom a joyous journey. It often entails leaving behind one’s family, community, and culture and confronting new challenges, including racism, Islamophobia, and economic disparities. Studies in the US, South Africa, and Europe have revealed increased risks of depression and suicide among migrants.
While we must ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals facing immediate danger can escape and that they can claim asylum, thanks to the crucial work of organizations like Immigration Equality, the Rainbow Railroad, or ORAM, our urgent need is for widespread global social change.
We must collaborate on innovative strategies for more rapid progress. Our success in the coming years hinges on our ability to create fresh avenues for social change and mobilize considerable financial resources, especially when governments that once championed global LGBTQ+ rights are stepping back.
It took fifty years since the Stonewall riots for a radical shift in public attitudes to occur in the United States. Unfortunately, we may not have another fifty years to witness similar progress worldwide before facing an unprecedented migration crisis. Now, more than ever, we need collective efforts and resources. The power to change the trajectory of LGBTQ+ rights is within our reach. We cannot afford to wait another half-century.