Martin Savidge hosts David Rayside and Rachel Tiven on LGBT politics and gay asylum. We begin the conversation with Jamaica, which makes up 17 of the 55 U.S. asylum cases won by Immigration Equality last year alone. We examine the metastasizing colonial and slave culture, entrenched poverty and rampant violence in Jamaica.
In 1994, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno expanded asylum law to include persecution based on sexual orientation. Sexual orientation has been increasingly used as grounds for asylum. We also discuss how to begin the process of applying for gay asylum in the U.S.
From human rights abuses to political progress, the gay rights movement is at different stages throughout the world. We take a comparative look at the progress of LGBT politics and the gay rights movement in different countries, including the best and worst places to be gay.
- Read about one gay Jamaican’s story of asylum: Gay men in Jamaica must lead two separate lives
- Watch signature videos from Jamaica: Violence and venom force gay Jamaicans to hide and Gays in Jamaica worship in underground church
- Watch our signature video from Greece: Ancient Greek values clash with modern treatment of gays
David Rayside is a political science professor at the University of Toronto. His latest book “Queer Inclusions, Continental Divisions” is a comparative analysis of Canadian and American political recognition of same-sex relationships, the extension of parenting rights to same-sex couples and the response to sexual diversity in public schooling. For over thirty years, he has also been an activist on issues related to sexual diversity and gender within academic institutions and beyond.
Rachel B. Tiven is the executive director of Immigration Equality, a national organization fighting for equal immigration rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive community. Under her leadership, Immigration Equality has doubled in size, quadrupled client services and opened a policy office in Washington, D.C.
Host: Martin Savidge
Producers: Lisa Biagiotti and Ben Piven
Researcher: Geneva Sands-Sadowitz
For more information on homophobia and HIV in Jamaica, visit The Glass Closet, a multimedia project produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.