Huge rise in number of gay Russians seeking asylum in the US
The number of gay Russians seeking asylum in the United States has nearly tripled in just two years.
According to figures released by the Immigration Equality, 161 gay Russians have claimed asylum in the US in the first 10 months of this year.
This is up dramatically from just 68 two years ago, and 127 in 2013.
The rate of growth far outstrips the growth in normal Russian claims as a whole – with 969 Russians total seeking asylum in the US, up 34 percent from 2012.
The Department of Homeland Security does not release official figures about gay asylum cases.
Aaron Morris of Immigration Equality told AP that most cases came from gay men in their 20s and 30s, who had been the victims of homophobic attacks in Russia.
Anti-gay sentiment continues to rise in Russia, after the country passed an anti-gay law banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality.
Gay couple Andrew Nasonov and Igor Bazilevsk are just two of the numbers that fled Russia, to escape the daily persecution they were subject to.
Mr Nasonov told AP: “We were finally able to say that we are a real family — there are not enough words to describe how wonderful these feelings are.”
Andrew Mironov, a man who fled after he was brutally beaten by a homophobic mob in a gay bar, said of his new life: “Which is more important: happiness or success? I would say happiness. I feel no fear here.”
More: anti-gay laws, asylum, Europe, Gay, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, US, US, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014