Wajeeh Lion: At Risk for Living His Truth

His story is heartbreaking, breathtaking, and empowering. Wajeeh Amir Lion is the first openly gay man from Saudi Arabia to obtain political asylum in the United States.

Lion was 12 years old when a scholarship led him and his parents to the United States.

Once he began accepting his true self, he immediately began the long and arduous process of seeking asylum.

“I hit a roadblock because I was in the United States on a student visa. As soon as I graduate, I either have to find a job or return to Saudi Arabia, and returning to Saudi Arabia means returning to where I wanted to commit suicide many times.”

Once his parents confirmed he was gay, they took away all of Lion’s freedoms, and he was under direct threat of being kidnapped by the Saudi government. He sought help from his alma mater, Kansas City University, where the head of LGBTQ services ushered him to safety and found him legal help.

Lion was granted asylum in 2018. He has since been committed to international advocacy for human rights, anti-violence, and LGBTQ rights.

“Knowing that it’s a very complex issue, (it’s important for) lawyers who are willing to do a pro bono case and help people with their asylum process because it’s very complicated. I’m personally trying to create a non-profit for the Saudi LGBT community or the Arabian peninsula LGBT community to help them.”

You can also find Lion hosting regular Twitter Spaces where he champions discussions to bring people together. He is living proof that not all superheroes wear capes.

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