Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Case Summary & History

Asylum & Immigration

Case: In re Dina

STATUS: Victory, El Salvador

Dina, a native and citizen of El Salvador, knew at a young age that she was a lesbian. She was rejected by her mother who constantly threatened to expose her sexual orientation to friends, coworkers, and employers. If exposed, Dina would risk being ostracized and abused on account of her sexual orientation. Dina paid her mother money to keep her silent. Living under this constant threat of exposure, Dina was pressured to marry a man. She hoped that her marriage would protect her from any harassment, discrimination, and violence that would be brought upon her if her sexual orientation was discovered. Her husband, a police officer, knew she was gay and used her sexual orientation to control her and her children. For years, he physically abused and raped her, causing near death experiences and prolonged hospital recoveries. He abused Dina because she is a lesbian, because she was his wife, and because she is a woman with few to no rights under Salvadorian law. Because her husband also abused the children, Dina asked the government to protect her children. When the government learned that Dina was a lesbian, she almost lost custody of her children to their abusive father. Dina and her children escaped El Salvador in 2003. Since their arrival in the United States, the family has found refuge at various churches and domestic violence shelters. With NCLR as her counsel, Dina and her two children were granted asylum on November 23, 2005.

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