Victoria Jeon

  • Hosted by UnLocal, Inc
  • Sponsored by The Paul Rapoport Foundation
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Yeshiva University Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Issue area LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Victoria provided affirming legal representation for queer immigrants and engaged in community-based education and community outreach to serve all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer races of color, with a particular focus on expanding UnLocal’s services to include outreach to Asian Pacific Islander communities.

LGBTQIA+ immigrants face unique challenges due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. Some LGBTQIA+ immigrants come to escape persecution, homophobic discrimination or trauma from their home countries. There is also a need for stronger community infrastructure among queer immigrants in light of homophobia or anti-immigrant rhetoric, especially among asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ Asian Americans (API)—all groups who are often overlooked. This leaves a visible gap in addressing queer immigrants’ and LGBTQIA+ APIs’ legal needs, which Victoria’s project sought to address.

Victoria is an LGBTQIA+ Korean immigrant, lying at the exact intersections of an Asian-American, LGBTQIA+ individual, and an immigrant. She therefore identifies and empathizes with the community she works with and wants to see LGBTQIA+ APIs represented in the law, LGBTQIA+ community, and society at large.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Victoria:
  • Represented and given advice to a total of over 50 individuals from UnLocal, its partner clinics, and through the previous fellowship placement, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
  • Collaborated with the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (NCAPACD) and the LGBTQIA+ Taskforce for policy advocacy and awareness efforts through a collaborative policy letter and a live web-panel respectively
  • Attended clinics at UnLocal’s partners to assist with intake for LGBTQIA+ immigrants and DACA clients and is forming partnerships with both CBST and local API groups
  • Developed and presented a training on best practices for working with LGBTQIA+ immigrants
  • Obtained asylum and/or Green Cards for multiple clients, many of whom previously faced deportation

Next Steps

Victoria will continue to work within UnLocal’s Queer Immigrant Justice Project as a staff attorney. She will assist with the growth of the project, continue to provide direct representation to LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, and continue to foster partnerships with local organizations and communities.

Media

Building Connections in the Asian and Pacific Islander and LGBTQ+ Asian and Pacific Islander Communities

Introducing the 2020 Fellows Fighting for the LGBTQ+ Community

What I am fighting for is written in my face and identity. I want to be an advocate for my own intersectional community and make a difference on their behalf.

Victoria Jeon /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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