Banned in travel bans, Iran’s transgender asylum seekers can’t see the road ahead.
At 12:01 a.m. on March 16, President trump’s revised travel ban – suspending visas from six mainly Muslim countries and suspending the entry of refugees. A court in Hawaii blocked it Wednesday. The ban, which involves citizens in somalia, Sudan, Iran, yemen, Syria and Libya, has been condemned by more than 130 foreign policy experts.
Iraq, which is included in Mr Trump’s original ban, is no longer on the list of affected countries. But the outlook for new orders is still affecting some iraqis who are seeking asylum in the United States.
NPR found an Iranian transgender asylum-seeker in Irbil, Iraq, just as he realized that the hope of reaching the United States was almost certain to be shattered by the revised executive order.
He was named after bahar – he was afraid to give his surname because it could cause problems for his family. Now, given the birth of a girl, bahar now chooses to be considered male.
Mr. Bahar said his initial optimism had turned to melancholy and anxiety, as his move had dragged on for nearly two years.
“I really don’t know what to do,” he said. “I really want to send my flight to the United States before the fight is over.” “I stay here all the day, I have been under pressure – I’m not only are criticized, and since you are the iranians, and because they thought I was a lesbian and was beaten. He said human rights groups were aware of their situation, “but so far, I can’t move forward. I’m stuck.”
Bahr said, he is at home are faced with the problem comes not from his own family, but from his partner’s relatives, they condemn their relationship is immoral, and tries to give her trouble. ‘things peaked in 2014,’ he says.
He said: “I am to Istanbul” pride march “, back to home, the government found that I have been to place, began to play games for me, I was told may be arrested prosecution. ”
He said the pressure had become so intense that he and his partner ended their relationship, and bahar fled to irbil. He said it took him nearly a year and a half to get his major U.S. job interview. Just last month, he was pleased to be able to complete a physical examination, suggesting that the approval of travel to the United States would soon be coming.
But at the same time, Washington’s new government launched to prevent the movement of immigrants, especially from the immigration activities in Muslim countries, although government officials have denied that immigration administrative command is equivalent to trump promised “Muslim ban” candidates.
When the U.S. court system blocked the initial travel ban, he remained hopeful. But his case has not yet been finalized. Now he faces a long time in erbil.
“It’s been two years now and my economic problems are very bad,” he said. “in irbil, my job is very difficult. “It’s a very conservative religious society, and I have a lot of problems here, people criticizing me, the way I dress, they ask me why do I dress like a boy?
He said he had lost his job and had to move to a new place, and the new travel ban he had learned from reporters had left him feeling desperate.
“I’m totally depressed,” he said. “I don’t know what to do.
‘part of the problem is completely isolated,’ he said. He said he had not contacted any other LGBT asylum-seekers in irbil.
He said: “as far as I know, I am ilbil’s only Iranian LGBT case, maybe the whole of Iraq. “I can’t get any information from the United Nations refugee agency. The only information I get is that the Iranian refugees are in Turkey. The only thing I can do is try to keep my spirits up and not give up hope. ”
A state department official declined to comment on Mr. Baler’s case in response to NPR’s request.
NPR has a similar interview with other LGBT iranians. Two gay men from Iran who fled to Turkey are now safely in the United States. The iranians say they have seen the system work – but if bahar and others work in this situation, it is now a painful uncertainty.