LGBTQ Asylum Seekers Face Extra Anxiety Under President Trump’s Travel Ban

Ever since his sister heard him talking in his sleep in their bedroom in Iran, Ali K. tried to stay awake at night.

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“Since that night, I was so afraid, I could not sleep,” he said of his childhood. “Because what if I said aloud what I feel?”

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In third grade Ali fell in love with an older boy at school, but never spoke to him. Several years later, he saw reports that two people had been hung for homosexuality.

TIME agreed to identify Ali by his first name in order to protect his family in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death.)

Now, after more than seven years in America, Ali fears he could be forced to return to a country that could kill him for his sexuality. He is one of many LGBTQ immigrants from the seven majority-Muslim nations affected by President Trump’s Jan. 17 executive order barring travellers from Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and refugees from Syria indefinitely.

Photo by Benson Kua [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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