For Rising Numbers of Lesbians Seeking U.S. Asylum, the Grass is Definitely Greener Here

ASYLUM: Although we still lack equal rights as we were once again reminded yesterday, America is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. And the number of gays and lesbians seeking asylum in the United States from persecution in their native countries may be on the rise.

According to Newsweek there is no way to specifically quantify the increase but “anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of people applying for asylum based on sexual orientation may be increasing.” Carribbean countries and Jamaica in particular are a common point of origin for immigrants escaping violence against homosexuals in their homeland.

Last year, the United States received about 49,000 applications for asylum due to a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, more than any other nation and 22,930 individuals were officially granted asylum. In 1994 the “members of a particular social group” clause was expanded to include foreign citizens who feared persecution based on their sexual orientation.

But it’s complicated – “Sexual-preference asylum is a big issue because there is no way of verifying these claims.” It’s a really interesting article, check it out: Desperately Seeking Freedom.

twitterpicTWITTER: “Twitter” has been named the top word of 2009, followed by:

2. Obama

3. H1N1

4. Stimulus

5. Vampire

6. 2.0

Think about it: without Twitter, we wouldn’t know the intimate details of Lindsay & Samantha’s dyke drama, that Paris Hilton is all up in Kate Moennig’s shit again, and we wouldn’t be able to harass you daily about voting for Autostraddle in the Mashable Awards. Also, we wouldn’t be able to inform you of every single move we make ever.


BODY IMAGE: A new report says that when 121 girls, ages 3-6, were asked to pick the “real princess” from a photo collection of girls in ballerina costumes, 50% of the girls chose the thinnest ballerina. Is Disney contributing to society’s obsession with being thin? (@newsweek)

DISAPPOINTMENT: The December Elle would like to remind its readers that they will never be happy this holiday season. In “No Way Out?” the article proposes several reasons for this, one of which is that we’re all disappointed in the way the women’s movement panned out. (@jezebel)

HEALTH CARE FOR WOMEN: Finally, some good news. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Olympia Snowe sponsored an amendment that “would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to require insurers to cover preventive health screenings free of charge” … AND IT PASSED!

FEMALE DESIRE: Remember the New York Times piece on “female hypoactive sexual desire disorder?” Salon’s got more to say on the issue and points out, “Maybe for some women it isn’t that they feel a lack of sexual desire, per se, but an absence of a particular type of desire they think they’re supposed to have. (Nowhere in the article is masturbation mentioned, by the way.)” (@salon)

FACEBOOK: Um. Who gave the go-ahead on this research when they should be spending their time looking into who anonymous haters on YouTube are? New research shows we are who we claim to be online“‘I was surprised by the findings because the widely held assumption is that people are using their profiles to promote an enhanced impression of themselves,’ [SORRY AUTOSTRADDLE SIDENOTE: Ummm … Profiles on Facebook are perused almost exclusively for most regular people by people they know in real life … right? So … actually that misconception comes from online dating profiles, not social networking profiles … ] says Gosling of the more than 700 million people worldwide who have online profiles. ‘In fact, our findings suggest that online social networking profiles convey rather accurate images of the profile owners, either because people aren’t trying to look good or because they are trying and failing to pull it off.’ ‘These findings suggest that online social networks are not so much about providing positive spin for the profile owners,’ he adds, ‘but are instead just another medium for engaging in genuine social interactions, much like the telephone.'” (@eurekaalert)

PHYS ED: Lincoln University, a school in Pennsylvania requires students with a BMI over 30 to take special fitness classes in order to graduate. This is problematic, not just because of it’s seen as discriminatory, but because BMI isn’t an accurate measure of health. – “Fitness and fatness are not mutually exclusive.” (@salon)

GENDERFORK: explores androgyny and gender variance through artistic photography and other neat stuff and is maintained by some neat pioneers. We dig genderfork and you should too.

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 240 articles for us.


  1. I am just happy that Disney FINALLY has a black princess. Its like, this is what I have been waiting for all my life! I am 21 but I am going to see this. So are many of my friends. I am so excited. Disney has had every other ethnicity, even fictional, but not black. That is ridiculous that it has taken so long. They also need to get on a hispanic princess stat.

    As far as them contributing to the society’s pressure to be thin.. I don’t know. A disney princesses body is not really the focus of the story. So i never looked at her and thought wow she is skinny they need to change that. But I have ALWAYS wished for a black princess. I think the ethinicity topic is a much more important issue.

  2. “121 girls, ages 3-6, were asked to pick the “real princess” from a photo collection of girls in ballerina costumes.” I’m sorry, but WHY DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN? Who else thinks the money for that study could have paid for my tuition?

    Also MsNJS I want to be excitant about Frog Princess too, but also am really afraid that Disney will screw it up. Like, this could just be a movie that young girls can watch and finally see themselves in, or it could be a carnival of ridiculous stereotypes and make me want to cry. I guess we’ll find out?

    • Agree with your first comment. I would like a reimbursement check too!

      You are right about the movie being either being awesome or terrible. Most most Disney movies are awesome so I have faith and fingers crossed.

    • We were talking about this the other day ’cause Aladdin was on TV, like Alex was saying she’d see these movies but never relate to the princess, she always related to the dude, like she related to Aladdin. And I was saying that I never related to the female leads either (except the little mermaid, actually) but I didn’t relate to the male leads, I always related to like, the funny sidekicks.

      Also I am related to Pocahontas so my family is like super on top of her story (my Mom’s side is Jewish, but my Dad’s side is quaker & native american)… and they fucked that shit up real good. I mean it was really all my grandpa could talk about all summer, we all had to watch the Pocahontas documentary 40 times to atone for Disney’s sins.

      • The funny sidekicks are defo my fave too. Argh we didn’t have a tv growing up but I can remember my mum actively trying to stop me watching Pocahontas at school as it wasn’t the real story. But then she made me read a book about the Jesuits ‘discovering’ America instead which helpfully missed out the bits where they killed a lot of Native Americans….so maybe she didn’t really have the right motives. I do like the talking tree in the film though, maybe its because it was one of the 1st times Disney had fairytaled something real that the film jarred.

      • I like Disney movies and songs. But i never really identified with the princesses. I never bought the toys or dressed up like one. I was a more weird, imaginative child. I watched Sailor Moon, Gargoyles, and Xena. I was fighting evil when i was 7, not dressing up.

  3. You guys should just tell all the lesbians to come to Canada!
    We’d really like them here! Also, you can marry whomever you want. Also Also, we don’t really appear to give a shit about immigration. We came to the realization a while ago that most of us (natives excluded) are immigrants in the first place, something the states could stand to realize.
    So, as long as you can survive the cold come and live with me in Canada!

      • I think we should all the people who don’t believe in gay marriage to Canada. And then all the cool Canadians can come here. And then we can adopt all of their awesome laws. I realize just MOVING to Canada would be easier, but I don’t like the cold.

  4. I think there are even more people dreaming of going to the US just because of the big LGBT communities.

  5. My daughter has sheets with Bella and Cinderella (The sheets were purchased by her indulgent aunt, not me). So, she sleeps with her head on 2 princesses and I’d like to report that she has lost 5 pounds. Okay, I’m kidding. I wouldn’t want to start the hottest diet trend since that whole Acai thing. The body image stuff is serious but equally concerning is the representation of femininity in the Disney stuff. It gives kids a warped idea of what women look like but also how they behave, what they value and what kind (or lack)of power they have. I hate it.

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