University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
$5,000 Scholarship and Hearst Medallion
Title: From Congo to Castro
Refugees entering the United States usually come with family members, but LGBT refugees
and asylum seekers most often come alone after being rejected by their own communities. The
Guardian Group was founded in 2011 by the First Unitarian Universalist Society to create a
support network for LGBT refugees, mostly from Africa and the Middle East.
San Francisco has a long history of being a safe and welcoming space for people in the LGBT
community, and Galen Workman, one of the founding members of the Guardian Group, hopes
to help LGBT youth today find the same sense of safety he experienced as a young gay man in
the 1980s. However, the refugees he works with have to face an entirely new set of obstacles.
After undergoing emotional and physical abuse in their home countries because of their sexual
orientation, they now have to navigate housing and living expenses in one of the most costly
cities in the United States.