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J Homosex. 2017;64(12):1650-1666. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2016.1253392. Epub 2016 Nov 10.

Persecution Experiences and Mental Health of LGBT Asylum Seekers.

Author information

a Department of Psychiatry , New York University School of Medicine , New York , New York , USA.
b Department of Psychology , University of Windsor , Windsor , Ontario , Canada.
c Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , Child Study Center of NYU at NYU Langone Medical Center , New York , New York , USA.
d NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture , New York , New York , USA.


Asylum seekers are a unique population, particularly those who have endured persecution for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Little data exist about the specific experiences and needs of asylum seekers persecuted due to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) identity. Quantitative data were gathered regarding demographics, persecution histories, and mental health of 61 clients from a torture survivors program in New York City who reported persecution due to LGBT identity. Thirty-five clients persecuted due to their LGBT identity were matched by country of origin and sex with clients persecuted for other reasons to explore how persecution and symptoms may differ for LGBT clients. LGBT asylum seekers have a higher incidence of sexual violence, persecution occurring during childhood, persecution by family members, and suicidal ideation. Understanding the type of persecution experiences and how these influence mental health outcomes is an essential step toward designing and delivering effective treatments.


Asylum; LGBT; bisexual; gay; lesbian; posttraumatic stress disorder; refugee; survivor of torture; transgender; trauma

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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