Pride month takes place in June, and marks a celebration of the achievements, culture, and activism of the LGBTQ+ community. This June, WR Immigration is proud to be standing with the LGBTQ+ community by leading efforts to combat discrimination, violence, and disruptions for transgender, non-binary, and gender persons as they pursue career growth and opportunities abroad.
Transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming travelers can face unique challenges when traveling, relocating, and immigrating internationally. For starters, gathering documents for travel or immigration purposes can be difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals, especially when a passport, birth certificate, or other identifying document bears a name and/or photo that no longer corresponds to a person’s gender identity. Another challenge is navigating the patchwork of gender laws and attitudes across the global mobility landscape. Not all countries are welcoming or safe for LGBTQ+ individuals. In fact, according to the United Nations, same-sex relationships remain criminalized offenses in over 70 countries, and in five of these countries, they are punishable by death.
WR Immigration is committed to helping clients with transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming identities overcome these challenges. One way we improve the mobility experience for these individuals is by meticulously researching international policies at the intersection of gender and global mobility. We also partner with international experts in this constantly evolving field to provide case-specific counseling for clients to avoid dangerous situations in international relocations. Closely monitoring changes to gender recognition policies both in the United States and abroad allows us to streamline immigration processes for transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming identities.
In some countries, legal process, security procedures, and travel protocols are being updated to better service individuals with trans, fluid, and non-binary genders. The Biden-Harris administration announced in March, for instance, that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin using gender neutral screening procedures and technology in order to improve the travel experience for transgender persons. Further, as of April 11, U.S. citizens can select an “X” as a gender marker on a U.S. passport. Choosing destinations that are welcoming, respectful, and well-equipped to service diverse populations is one way service providers can create positive mobility experiences for the LGBTQ+ community.
The intersection of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) and Global Mobility is important for organizations as they work to provide robust and equal opportunities for all employees. To this end, WR Immigration is developing an inclusive global mobility playbook to assist our clients with attracting and retaining foreign talent, ensuring equality and inclusion for foreign nationals as well as those stationed abroad, and ensuring safe and equal opportunities for international assignees. WR Immigration’s DEIA Global Mobility Playbook will provide cutting-edge recommendations and best practices to ensure a seamless immigration experience for LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented persons.
One last way service providers can make a difference is by offering their services to LGBTQ+ organizations. WR Immigration partner Richard Yemm, for instance, provides monthly immigration legal clinics at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a non-profit serving the LGBT community in Los Angeles. Volunteering at community organizations allows individuals who may not normally have access to legal counsel to seek help, get questions answered, and obtain assistance with an immigration matter. For questions about WR Immigration’s DEIA Global Mobility Playbook or issues affecting transgender travelers or immigrants, contact Melissa Harms, Partner at WR Immigration’s San Francisco Office.