Faith leaders’ press conference to highlight needs of LGBT asylum seekers in Chicago

Laws and violence that threaten the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT) are being passed in a frightening number of countries around the world. Predictably, people are fleeing their homes as neighbors now join together to blackmail, beat and even murder LGBT people. Whether it is Russia, Nigeria, Yemen, or Uganda, criminalizing LGBT people means more asylum seekers.


Chicago faith leaders join asylum seekers from Nigeria and Uganda to tell first hand experiences of fleeing from their homes and because of violence against LGBT people.

Dennis Ojiyoma Akpona – Asylum seeker from Nigeria: Co-founder of the Center for Courageous Living and CLASP

John Ademola Adewoye – Permanent resident through asylum/ Asylee Service provider: Co-founder of the Center for Courageous Living and CLASP

The Rev. Lois McCullen Parr, Broadway United Methodist Church; Co-founder of CLASP

Andy Thayer – Co-founder, Gay Liberation Network


Press conference with faith leaders from many traditions and asylum seekers to announce the formation of CLASP, Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program


Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10 a.m. CT


Broadway United Methodist Church, 3338 North Broadway, Chicago, 60657


Asylum seekers come to the United States because it is illegal to be LGBT in nearly 80 countries around the world, and the death penalty is applied in seven of them. In many more countries, attackers are routinely left unprosecuted. Untold numbers of asylum seekers reach Chicago, only to realize that it is illegal for them to hold jobs for at least six months after they file their asylum applications and they are barred from most government-supported programs. Without community support, they are left alone, afraid, and desperate in bewildering surroundings.

CLASP is organizing resources such as: housing that is available for a minimum of 6 months; gifts of money, food and clothing; networking for medical, legal and spiritual support for asylum seekers. CLASP is an outgrowth of a nationwide group called LGBT Faith & Asylum Network (LGBT-FAN) which is a national coalition dedicated to helping people who are seeking safety in the United States because of persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity in their home countries. Find more information online:

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