Guidelines for LGBT Refugee Resettlement Include ‘LGBT-Affirming Places of Worship’

By Penny Starr | July 24, 2015 | 4:50 PM EDT


( – The Obama administration has introduced homosexual rights policies across federal agencies, including at the Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement website, which links to a guide that rates placement providers and communities on LGBT-friendly services, including having “culturally competent mental health providers” and “LGBT-affirming places of worship.”

The eight-page guide -- published by the homosexual refugee advocacy organization Heartland Alliance International in 2013 and entitled the “Rainbow Welcome Initiative” -- is designed like a scorecard that allows agencies and service providers to use a point system to rate refugee programs and communities on acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle.

“This document is intended to serve two purposes; first, as a set of guidelines for Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGs) to use for determining which of their affiliates are best suited to accept lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees for placement, and second, as an agency self-assessment to help refugee programs identify strengths and challenges that they may face when resettling LGBT refugees,” the guide states.

For example, under section two, “Social Environment/Access to Services,” (page 3), the checklist is worth one point on each count, including whether there are “culturally competent mental health providers in the resettlement community.”

In the same section, listed under the checklist “external factors affecting placement (1 pt. each),” the list includes “The resettle community is home to LGBT-affirming places of worship.”

In section three of the document, entitled “Welcoming Environment,” each item is worth 2 points and points are earned for offices that promote homosexuality (page 4): “At least one LGBT flag or poster is displayed in a prominent area” and “all refugees receive information during cultural orientation that tolerance of diversity, including sexual orientation and gender identity, is a cultural value in the United States.”

Under the “training” section (Section 5, page 2), the guide’s “minimum guidelines” -- worth two points for each item -- includes “staff and volunteers understand not to impose their own religious or cultural beliefs on any program participant.”

Section six of the guide entitled Direct Services” and “best practices” (page 7), the checklist includes three points if “lessons on sexual orientation, gender identity, tolerance and anti-bullying are incorporated into youth and family programming.”

The guide concludes by saying if an “affiliate” scores between 0-59 points “affiliated does not meet minimum guidelines. Action plan should be developed before accepting LGBT cases.”

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