LGBTQ Refugees or Asylum Seekers’ Voice Needed for Local Radio Story Raising Awareness on

Global Anti-LGBTQ Laws

 My name is Maria Ines Taracena, and I am a reporter at Arizona Public Media in Tucson. We are the NPR affiliate in the Old Pueblo.

 For a few weeks now, I have been working on a radio story about LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers in Southern Arizona, with the goal to raise awareness on the many countries that have some sort of anti-LGBTQ law or just a very violent sentiment against LGBTQ people.

 I’ve spoken to refugee program representatives, people in the LGBT Behavioral Health Coalition, asylum lawyers in Phoenix who’ve helped people from Russia, Uganda, etc., and University of Arizona professors who specialize in LGBTQ affairs. I have learned so much about this issue, and I want to help inform others who may not be familiar with what is going on in regards to people fleeing their native countries because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 The one missing voice in this story is of someone who comes from one of these countries and has experienced persecution because of these anti-LGBTQ laws.

 If you are out there or someone you know has experienced this personally…It is very important for me to have your voice in this piece.

 This topic is already so powerful, but the voice of someone who has experienced this personally would make it that much stronger.

 CONFIDENTIALITY is guaranteed. I completely understand and respect your privacy. I just truly would love to hear your story, and for your voice to be part of inspiring change…even if it’s on a local level with how Southern Arizona can be of more help to LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers.

 Please, if you feel comfortable, call me to 520-449-5558 or email me at Thank you so much for any help!

The Refugee Integrated Service Provider Network of Tucson (RISP-Net)

  1. To increase collaboration and communication among systems with a stake in the successful acculturation of refugees in Tucson, AZ.
  2. To identify needs and issues impacting refugees' effective utilization of/access to services and to advocate for the removal of barriers.
  3. To reinforce strengths that refugees bring to this country and to promote opportunities for them to express those strengths.
  4. To promote community-wide support for refugee youth so that they may lead successful lives
  5. To share information and lessons learned at local, regional, and national levels.
  6. To locate sources of funding to address identified needs and support each other to bring in new resources.
  7. To bring the voices of refugees to the table.
RISP-Net began as the Advisory Committee to La Frontera Center's Family Passages Program, La Frontera Center received a grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention that funded family education and support for refugees resettling in Tucson, Arizona.  Programming in the first three years, in families' first languages, benefited refugees from the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, and Central America.  Since its beginnings in 2002, Family Passages has served families from Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq, Bhutan, and others.  In 2005, the members renamed the advisory committee and formed a broad-based coalition that serves all newcomer populations in Tucson.