Natasha* is a Russian citizen who was recently granted asylum in the U.S. She escaped violence and persecution based on her membership in the LGBTQ community — she identifies as a lesbian. In Russia, Natasha was physically harmed, threatened, arrested, and separated from her partner.
Shortly after turning 18 years-old, Natasha realized that she was a lesbian, and fell in love with her best friend Tanya*. They started a relationship but kept it secret to protect themselves. Once she was admitted to the University, she was introduced to a group of LGBTQ community members who attempted to organize an LGBTQ parade. However, the police halted the parade by intimidating and threatening anyone who participated.
In the following years, Natasha and her friends had several violent encounters with the local community, including the nationalist student groups, skinheads, university staff, the police, and even her neighbors. She was violently attacked several times, and at one point, her father told her to leave their home because he was embarrassed of her. Natasha moved in with Tanya with her mother’s support.