A 20-year-old Ugandan woman is at risk of deportation after attempting to seek asylum in the United States.
According to a recent story by Rolling Stone, the woman, identified only as Margaret, traveled from Uganda after coming out as a lesbian. As a result of her being public about her sexuality, she was “raped and repeatedly beaten.” Margaret reached the Juárez, Mexico–El Paso, Texas border after a lengthy and dangerous trek spanning several months.
Uganda remains a dangerous place for the LGBTQ+ community. Earlier this month the country announced plans to renew it’s 2014 Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act (“Kill the Gays bill”). That bill was signed into law in 2014 by the country’s president Yoweri Museveni, but struck down 8 months later on a technicality. A spokesperson for the president of Uganda said last week that the reported renewal will not go forward.
Although Margaret didn’t have her documentation — or any personal belongings, since they all had been stolen while she was on the Mexican side of the border — she successfully was able to enter the U.S. last month. However, on Wednesday she was told devastating news.
“U.S. officials had determined that, despite being a lesbian from a country in which it is illegal to be one, and despite having already suffered beatings and a rape, Margaret had no ‘credible fear’ or any way of knowing what would happen if she were sent back,” Rolling Stone reports.
An appeal has been filed and Margaret may receive an immigration judge’s ruling as early as next week.
Although U.S. officials cite no “credible fear,” in the case, LGBTQ+ Ugandans have faced increased violence within the past year with four of it’s LGBTQ+ rights activists being slain.The latest was Brian Wasswa, a gay and gender nonconforming activist who was brutally murdered in his home earlier this month.
Another outlet reports on a Ugandan lesbian who was brutally attacked by a doctor during a consultation after he discovered her sexual orientation.