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ADDED ON: 04/09/2021

Russian LGBTQ asylum seekers stranded in Guam

04/08/2021 | Los Angeles Blade

Egor is a gay man who grew up in a village near Russia’s Ural Mountains. Military service in Russia is compulsory, and Egor was studying in the city of Nizhny Novgorod in 2019 when recruiters told him to enlist. Egor, who asked the Blade not to publish his last name, said officials sent him to a mental hospital after he failed a psychological exam. “They realized I was gay because I dyed my hair, I wear makeup and stuff like that, plus I have earrings,” said Egor. Egor told the Blade did not go to the hospital, and the military began to look for him after he fled the city. Egor flew to Guam in May 2019 and asked for asylum at the island’s Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport. “I knew I could go here and apply for asylum at the international airport in Guam,” Egor told the Blade during a telephone interview from Guam. “That’s what I did pretty much.” Guam is a U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean that is at the southern end of the Mariana Islands. Egor is one of the upwards of 300 Russian asylum seekers in Guam. They cannot leave the island until their cases are decided. Russian citizens until 2020 were able to travel to Guam without a visa. Egor and other Russian LGBTQ asylum seekers with whom the Blade has spoken took advantage of this visa-free travel to flee their homeland.

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