15 August 2005

Another Mexican LGBT asylum case

Just checked 365gay.com again to find this article - where it says that a Mexican gay man, who had been severely abused by his family and law enforcement authorities back home (so much for the Latin "family values"), has been granted asylum by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He had been in the US since 1990, overstaying his tourist visa and under deportation hearings since 1997, and now the courts have concluded that his return to Mexico would endanger him.

This gives me several thoughts. It shows the widespread spread of homophobia in Mexico and other Latin American countries (even though there are a few Indio towns in Mexico where transgender people seem to have some power, I heard). I also know of a Nicaraguan transgender woman who is ineligible for asylum because of a prior record in the US, but is being kept at an Oakland jail, because she faces sure death if returned home, and UN treaties prohibit such returns. In addition, I still see a glimmer of hope with the American justice system, recognizing the homophobia in Mexico in granting the asylum. This was not possible during the Reagan era; if you were gay, even coming to the US under normal, legal channels was impossible back then.

I wonder how long this will hold up though. As more Latinos enter the US, they bring more of their homophobia with them. Here in Southern California, Latino homophobia is now the norm and the mainstream, replacing the individualistic permissivity the former "mainstream" community once had. Asian communities are not much different in this regard, either. And higher up the power ladder, the current administration is installing homophobic judges left and right, so future rulings may not be so friendly.

If I were a Latin or Asian gay asylum seeker, I would seek asylum in a country more friendly both legally and socially, like Canada or one of the EU members, instead of the US, which is looking more and more like "home." And back to my real life, I will think twice before heading for Mexico, Costa Rica, or any other Latin American "paradise" ever again, because those places are not paradise for me, even though it means I have to write off a huge chunk of the world.