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LGBT Refugee Services


JFCS East Bay is currently the lead organization in the United States resettling lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex refugees. LGBT people are increasingly targeted around the world, as more countries criminalize homosexuality or gender non-conforming behavior. LGBT refugees are often exposed or turned in to the police by family or community members, putting them in grave danger and forcing them to flee their homes with very short notice. Many become victims of violence, torture, and rape.

For people seeking assistance: please note that unfortunately, we are not able to help people overseas who have not yet been granted refugee status by the United Nations. We also do not have programs to serve asylum seekers (internationally or domestically) at this time.

JFCS East Bay’s LGBT Refugee Services program provides comprehensive resettlement services for those refugees who are able to obtain status through the United Nations to come to the United States. Most of these young refugees (typically in their early twenties) come from Africa and the Middle East, with asylees arriving from Latin America and the former Soviet Union. Unlike other refugees, LGBT individuals arrive in the country completely alone and thus need in-depth, personalized services to start their new lives.

JFCS East Bay case managers are specifically trained to meet the complex needs of this unique and vulnerable population. Our bilingual, bicultural staff members provide services in Dari, Farsi, and Russian.

For refugees we resettle, JFCS East Bay’s LGBT Refugee Services include:

  • support with the migration process
  • assistance with transitional housing
  • help enrolling in benefits programs
  • assistance navigating the health care system
  • providing referrals to local services
  • providing counseling and mental health services
  • assistance finding educational and vocational resources
  • outreach to LGBT social and cultural groups
  • volunteer support with social integration, life skills, and learning English

When new LGBT refugees arrive in the United States, JFCS East Bay is ready with trained volunteers who provide extensive support for each person. Information about volunteering can be found here.

Further information

LGBT Refugee Services is supported by HIAS, Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights, and individual donors.

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