Though positive changes are on the horizon for certain aspects of immigration law affecting transgender asylum seekers, the language that courts use to process transgender asylum cases extends beyond the letter of the law itself. The language with which courts deal with transgender individuals and issues can fundamentally prevent transgender asylum seekers from gaining safety in the United States.
How does the language of asylum courts impact the case law and outcomes of transgender asylum seekers?
TRANSGENDER ASYLUM CASE LAW: A LEGAL OVERVIEW
Asylum seekers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) face particularly strong obstacles in their application processes. Some protections have been added to immigration case law that have increased protections for LGBT asylum seekers. In 1990, lesbian women and gay men gained protection under immigration law as a “particular social group” (PDF). This means that, in a similar way to how Title IX protects women from gender-based discrimination within the United States, lesbians and gay men became a likewise “protected” group that can be afforded asylum due to homophobic discrimination and violence in their countries of origin…story continues below…