A Jamaican lesbian living in Sunrise, Florida has avoided deportation after an immigration judge allowed the 29-year-old to stay in the United States because her sexual orientation could cause her to be tortured if she returned to Jamaica.
According to Court Documents, Immigration Judge Irma Lopez-Defillo said:
'The general atmosphere in Jamaica is a feeling of no tolerance towards homosexuals in general, and as such, . . . the respondent's life is definitely at risk.
This is an extremely rare decision, but the judge's decision comes as more and more reports of antigay violence come out of Jamaica. In January, a mob broke into a house attacked the three men inside while shouting antigay slurs at them, severely injuring two of the men, with the third still missing and feared dead.
The danger the woman faced in Jamaica was shown by her own brother as he testified in front of the court:
Oh you know, she needs to make up her mind if she's a dude or a girl, because she's -- you know, she's a woman. But if she acts like a dude, then, you know, we can bust her ass... Nobody would accept her.
He also told of horrific scenes he witnessed, like when two Jamaican men believed to be gay were chased up a tree and then pelted with rocks.
I think the woman expresses her fear the best in a poem she wrote:
Scared to go back to my origin,
fearing the ultimate sentence, an
. . .
Yet my freedom of expression poses
Give me liberty or give me death.
Though I'm not ready to die for
being me yet.
The Department of Homeland Security can still remove the woman to a country other than Jamaica. Her attorney plans to file documents so she can apply for legal residency.