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U.S. Sends Lesbian Refugee Back to Country Where She Was Raped

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Lesbian refugee sent back to country where she was rapedOn October 23, 2016, a 23-year-old Ugandan woman named L. took her girlfriend to a small hotel. While they were making love there, their lives changed forever, and they nearly died.

L. got a visa, and fled to the United States. But Customs and Border Protection officials wouldn’t let her in. Today, they refuse to reexamine her case –– despite the fact that she has survived beatings, torture, and a “corrective” rape ordered by her own father.

For safety reasons, we will use initials –– L. and E. –– to refer to the woman and her girlfriend. The story below is based on conversations with L. and her attorney, as well as court filings, photos, and medical documents that L.’s attorney showed The Daily Beast.

L. grew up in a small community in the southern part of Uganda. In high school, she and E. fell in love. For more than five years, they kept their relationship a secret. In Uganda, as in much of sub-Saharan Africa, being gay means living in secret, or living in danger; it can mean choosing between safety and love. L. and E. chose love, and it almost killed them.

When the two women got to the hotel, they didn’t lock the door. Then a group of men barged in.


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