As anti-LGBTQ violence and arrests continue taking place in Chechnya, Uganda, Azerbaijan, Egypt and other parts of the world, more and more LGBT refugees are seeking political asylum in other countries, a process that can be long, costly and confusing. The San Francisco-based LGBT Asylum Project helps LGBT refugees find asylum in the United States, and to help finance its work the project is selling the Mr. International Freedom calendar, a 2018 calendar featuring 12 sexy men from 11 different countries.
One its website, the LGBT Asylum Project says, “The U.S. immigration system is complex and constantly evolving, making it difficult for asylum-seekers to navigate on their own.”
According to statistics, the success rate for unrepresented asylum applicants is only 13%, the success rate for legally represented asylum applicants is 75% nationwide and the success rate for clients of The LGBT Asylum Project is currently 100%. So far the organization has helped 35 individuals seeking asylum by providing them with pro bono legal representation.
To help raise money for its work, the project holds an annual Mr. International Freedom Contest, a male beauty pageant in which international men living near the Bay Area compete for a crown, and attendees bid on a dinner with one of the sexy contestants.
Some of the pageant contestants had been through the asylum process themselves, others were volunteers with the LGBT Asylum Project. But the pageant had been such a financial success that the organization decided to have its contestants create a fundraising calendar. That’s how the Mr. International Freedom calendar was born.
Here are some of the hunks from the 2018 Mr. International Freedom calendar:
The Mr. International Freedom calendar models represent Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uganda and the United States.
In response to the anti-LGBT violence around the world, Hornet has worked in partnership with various regional and global human rights organizations to provide access to information and resources to people living in anti-LGBT countries. Hornet has worked with the Russian LGBT Network and ILGA Europe to assist LGBTQ men who are still in Chechnya. Horney has also published a “Know Your Rights” fact sheet in English, Russian and Chechen as well as tips for how Egyptian LGBTQ men can avoid arrest by police.
Additionally, Hornet has worked with the United Nations’ “Free & Equal” campaign, a public education campaign created to protect human rights globally, to create an in-app system that updates users about anti-LGBTQ policies in countries with laws targeting the LGBTQ community.