The Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP), a first-of-its-kind program housed at Transgender Law Center and made possible by a 2017 Open Society Foundations Soros Justice Fellowship, launched Wednesday with an accompanying 20-minute documentary and opportunities for community members to get involved.
“As a Black transgender Nigerian migrant, I have too often felt isolated, invisible, and alone in the U.S.,” said Ola Osaze, 2017 Soros Justice Fellow and National Organizer of the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project at Transgender Law Center (TLC). “There are no spaces created for people like me, no services developed with me in mind. Through BLMP, I hope to create not just a resource but a home for Black LGBTQIA migrants like myself who have not been recognized or prioritized in LGBTQ, Black, or immigrant justice movements.”
Through leadership development, capacity building, and organizing, BLMP addresses the ways in which Black LGBTQIA+ migrants are targeted by the criminal law and immigration enforcement system, and marginalized in the broader migrant community and racial and economic justice movements. BLMP aims to reduce isolation, build leadership, and protect and defend Black LGBTQIA+ migrants from increasing attack by holding community-building events around the country, providing legal support, increasing access to services, creating regional organizing networks, and launching the first-ever survey focused on our experiences.
Black migrants are a fast-growing community in the U.S., with the number of undocumented Black immigrants increasing by nearly 50% from 389,000 in 2000 to 602,000 in 2013. Black migrants, and particularly Black LGBTQIA+ migrants, are also at the center of relentless policy attacks by the current administration. In the past year, the U.S. has banned visas from Eritrea, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, banned travel from Chad, Libya, and Somalia, proposed federal policies that threaten to cap refugee resettlement, increased raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and attacked Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program many Black LGBTQIA+ immigrants rely on.
Community members and supporters are encouraged to connect with BLMP here to stay updated on opportunities available through the project.
Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.