Publications 

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Kakuma Report

ORAM and Rainbow Railroad conducted in-depth research into the conditions facing LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya. The report provides much needed and previously lacking information on LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and refugees living in the camp - who they are, their experiences, the services they receive, the challenges they face and the opportunities they envision.

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How companies can mentor LGBTQ refugees in the UK

This guidebook guides companies on how to establish and implement professional mentorship programmes for LGBTQ refugees and asylum
seekers in the United Kingdom.
A mentorship programme aims to help LGBTQ refugees strengthen their professional skills, navigate a new job market, learn about cultural workplace norms, and work towards their career goals in their new host country.

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Company Guidebook

This guidebook is intended to provide companies with guidance on how to establish and implement professional mentorship programs for LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers. LGBTQ employees and allies at these companies will have the opportunity to utilize mentorship to help LGBTQ refugees strengthen their professional skills, understand cultural workplace norms, and develop a strategy for their career trajectory. This guide includes a section for Mentorship Coordinators at companies on how to set up a mentorship program, training materials for mentors, and resources for four mentor-mentee meetings.

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ORAM Toolkit

A toolkit containing

SOGIE Terminology dictionary in five different languages
Model Code of Conduct and Analysis
Safe Space Checklist
SOGIE in Registration Systems
"You Are Safe Here" Pins
"You Are Safe Here" Posters

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Country of Origin Report: Sexual Orientation and Gener Identity and Expression in Honduras


Country of Origin (COI) reports are an essential tool in asylum adjudication. Reports are used for assessing a variety of elements in asylum claims: individual risk of persecution, the applicant’s credibility, and the availability of state protection.

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Kakuma Refugee Camp: Soap Business Impact Report

Kakuma Refugee Camp, in northwest Kenya, is home to hundreds of East African LGBTIQ refugees, who have fled from Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, and Burundi. The crises ebb and flow, but one thing remains the same – LGBTIQ refugees struggle to survive in the camp.

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Country of Origin Report: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression in Guatemala

LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer) people in Guatemala face significant hardships originating from both social barriers and government actions, which enforce discrimination against sexual minorities. This report describes the national legal framework that applies to sexual minorities, the conditions LGBTIQ Guatemalans face, and social attitudes toward them.

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Enhancing Protection of Sexual & Gender Minority Beneficiaries and Staff in Organizational Codes of Conduct: Model Code & Analyses


This publication examines the treatment of sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) in the most-utilized code of conduct in the field of international refugee protection: that of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It aims to identify gaps in the UNHCR Code’s coverage of SGM refugees and staff, and proposes specific amendments to narrow these gaps. Also available in Spanish, French and German.

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Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression: Essential Terminology for the Humanitarian Sector

A five-language dictionary, glossary and usage guide to assist humanitarian professionals communicate effectively and respectfully with and about people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Includes definitions, transliterations and do’s and don’ts of usage. English, French, Turkish, Farsi and Arabic.

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Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees Safe Space Checklist

This checklist can be used to ensure that your agency is open and safe for sexual and gender minority (SGM) refugees and asylum seekers. Also available in Spanish, French and German.

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Incorporating Sexual and Gender Minorities Into Refugee and Asylum Intake and Registration Systems

This pamphlet aims to guide governments, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations in developing refugee intake and registration queries that are inclusive of sexual and gender minorities. Also available in Spanish, French and German.

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Sexual and Gender Minorities: What Refugee Professionals Need to Know and Do – A Sampling of Presentation Slides

This pamphlet contains select representative slides from ORAM’s training program on sexual and gender minority (SGM) refugees and asylum seekers. The training consists of the following six sequential modules: Introduction, Sensitization and Identification, Protecting SGM Refugees, Working with SGM Refugees, Credibility Assessment, Resettlement and Integration. Also available in Spanish, French and German.

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Researching the Situation of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) in Countries of Origin.

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) has published the newest addition to the EASO practical guides series, the practical guide on: “Researching the situation of lesbian, gay and bisexual persons (LGB) in countries of origin”. The guide provides background knowledge as well as useful tips, tools and sources for researching the situation of LGB in countries of origin.

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Country of Origin Report: Sexual and Gender Minorities – Uganda

ORAM’s Uganda Country of Origin (COI) Report is intended to help adjudicators and protection experts assess asylum claims by contextualizing personal stories of persecution. COI reports are an essential tool in asylum adjudication procedures. The reports are used for assessing a triptych of elements in asylum claims: individual risk of persecution; an applicant’s credibility; and the availability of state protection.

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Blind Alleys Part I: Guidance for NGOs, Governments, UNHCR & Program Funders

Part I of Blind Alleys offers key recommendations relevant to narrowing the protection gaps plaguing urban sexually and gender non-conforming (SGN) refugees. This guide is based on our research findings in the disparate protection environments of Uganda, South Africa and Mexico, as well as on ORAM’s extensive work with this population in other locations. Also available in Spanish. A short summary is also available in French.

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Blind Alleys Part II: Country Findings: South Africa

This part of Blind Alleys II seeks to inform international agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as they work to improve the protection of sexually and gender non-conforming (SGN) refugees in South Africa. South Africa is home to one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, as well as an exemplary refugee status determination law. However, this progressive legislation is undermined by a severely overburdened asylum system and widespread discrimination against outsiders and the SGN community. As discussed in the report, these challenges that prevent SGN refugees from accessing rights and services to which they are entitled, impact their ability to integrate into South African society, and even make it difficult to survive. A short summary is also available in French.

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Blind Alleys Part II: Country Findings: Uganda

This part of Blind Alleys II seeks to inform international agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as they work to improve the protection of sexually and gender non-conforming (SGN) refugees in Uganda. The report is based on extensive field and desk research conducted over the course of a year. We interviewed thirty-seven SGN refugees and stakeholders working with them, including representatives of refugee-serving NGOs, LGBTI organizations, and UNHCR field officers.Our findings reveal serious and dangerous gaps in their protection. A short summary is also available in French.

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Blind Alleys Part II: Country Findings: Mexico

This part of Blind Alleys II seeks to inform international agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as they work to improve the protection of sexually and gender non-conforming (SGN) refugees in Mexico. In Latin America, Mexico’s laws are among the most protective of SGN people, particularly in Mexico City. This progressive trend in legislation is unfortunately not supported by adequate enforcement and does not necessarily translate to better conditions for SGN refugees. Protection gaps undermine the ability of SGN refugees to access rights and services to which they are entitled and impact their survival in Mexican society. To better understand these challenges and develop effective solutions, ORAM conducted a series of interviews with SGN refugees, NGO staff, and other stakeholders. Also available in Spanish. A short summary is also available in French.

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Blind Alleys Part III: A Tri-Country Comparative Analysis: Mexico, South Africa, and Uganda

This Part III of Blind Alleys provides an overview of our findings, along with a broad summary of our recommendations to stakeholders including governments, NGOs, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In the disparate urban environments of Mexico, Uganda, and South Africa, ORAM’s research found clear patterns of dangerous protection gaps. Our findings detail how SGN refugees are doubly marginalized: first because they are refugees, and again based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

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San Francisco Bay Area Resource Directory; Resources for Helping to Rebuild the Lives of LGBTI Refugees & Asylees

This report and its companion piece, Rainbow Bridges, can be used as education tools during trainings, as a supplement to Guardian Groups’ services, and as an essential guide for refugees, asylum seekers and asylees in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our hope is that this manual will help newly-arrived LGBTI refugees integrate more smoothly and rapidly into their new homes.

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Rainbow Bridges: A Community Guide to Rebuilding the Lives of LGBTI Refugees and Asylees


This manual seeks to improve the resettlement integration model used for LGBTI refugees and asylees by providing community and faith-based groups with the knowledge they need to help refugees build new lives in the United States. It shares ORAM’s knowledge, experience, and observations in partnership with several supportive communities. ORAM hopes that its pilot resettlement initiative for LGBTI refugees and asylees, who often lack a support network, will be the first of many.

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Opening Doors: A Global Survey of NGO Attitudes Towards LGBTI Refugees & Asylum Seekers

This report seeks to help non-governmental organizations (NGOs) protect LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers, who are among the most vulnerable people in the world. It makes several key recommendations, as the extreme marginalization of LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers deepens the need for informed intervention by NGOs. The report is based on the first wide-ranging, systemic attitudinal survey of international refugee protection by hundreds of NGOs around the world. Also available in French and Spanish.

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Unsafe Haven: The Security Challenges Facing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Turkey


This report documents the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey, who are among the most vulnerable people. It has been published in cooperation with the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Turkey (HCA). In addition to being based on the original 46 in-depth interviews conducted for the 2009 edition of the report, the findings and conclusions in this updated version are based on information provided by 62 LGBT refugees represented jointly by HCA and ORAM since that time.

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No Shelter: Protection Gaps in Israel Facing Refugees Fleeing Gender-Based Persecution

This report discusses the protection gaps that refugees fleeing gender-based persecutionin face in Israel. The report, which was written in collaboration with the Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University, highlights the two key protection gaps: first, the State’s failure to recognize the refugee claims of women fleeing gender-based persecution; and second, the prohibition on employment and the withholding of social benefits available to asylum seekers, both of which detrimentally impact women. The report provides recommendations to bring Israel in compliance with its international obligations concerning the protection of vulnerable asylum-seeking women.

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Testing Sexual Orientation: A Scientific and Legal Analysis of Plethysmography in Asylum and Refugee Status Proceedings

This paper provides a scientific and legal analysis of the use of phallometry, specifically Penile plethysmography (PPG) and vaginal photoplethysmography (VPG) tests, in refugee status determination. PPG and VPG are tests that attempt to scientifically quantify the sexual arousal of homosexual individuals by measuring physiological responses to visual stimuli through attachment of electrodes to the genitals. The paper analyses the contexts in which these tests have been applied, the extent to which legal bodies have accepted them, and the legal and ethical consequences of utilizing these examinations to assist refugee status determination. The paper concludes that the methodology constitutes a violation of the human rights of LGBTI individuals, is scientifically unreliable, unethical, and inappropriate for use in the determination of the sexual orientation of persons seeking refugee protection.