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LGBTQ Plus

Unsafe At Home, Central America's LGBTQ Must Flee For Their Lives

Guatemala has become a transit country for migrants seeking to reach the United States, but it is also a hub for those seeking refuge. Hundreds of migrants remain trapped waiting to be considered as refugees. The chances of receiving a positive response are slim, especially for the LGBTQ community.

A refugee in a shelter in Guatemala

Many South American LGBTQ+ migrants seek refuge from violence in Guatemala.

GUATEMALA CITY — Madelyn is a 22-year-old trans woman. In Nov. 2021, she migrated from Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, to Guatemala City after being repeatedly harassed and attacked by gang members in her country.

Every year, hundreds of migrants arrive in Guatemala to request refuge. In 2019, there were 494 people; in 2020, 487; in 2021, 1,054 and 70 more in Jan. 2022 alone. Everyone must wait at least two years for a resolution, and migration statistics reveal that only 1.7 out of 10 migrants receive a yes as an answer to their asylum request. The situation is more dramatic for applicants from the LGBTQ community because only 2 out of 100 people are accepted.

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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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