Good news from a friend that I've been meaning to post for a while:
Gay activist Larry Chang found out this month that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has granted him political asylum based on persecution he faced in Jamaica due to his sexual orientation.
It marks a major step for Chang, one of Jamaica's most outspoken gay civil rights advocates. The 55-year-old D.C. resident can now apply to live in the United States permanently, and has the right to work and freely travel outside of this country.
Chang .. is now preparing to apply for a permanent visa, which also is known as a green card. This will allow him to become a permanent U.S. resident and permit him to own property. It also gives him the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after five years.
"I've crossed the first hurdle," he says. "Sometimes I have to pinch myself, and ask 'Did it really happen?'"
The co-founder of the Gay Freedom Movement, Jamaica's first gay rights organization, applied for asylum to escape the danger he says he faced while living in a country notorious for its outspoken opposition to homosexuality.
Chang also was a part of Jamaica's small Asian-Jamaican population, which began to grow in the mid 1800s. At the time, Jamaica was under British rule, which ended in 1962, and Chinese civilians and residents of East India began immigrating to that country to do plantation work that formerly had been done by slaves.
If 2005 continues the promising hope of 2004, I'm sure you'll hear a lot more about Larry.
Posted by ronn at October 31, 2004 12:26 PM