Audio Recording of Interview
An immigrant from Ecuador, Luis discusses his experiences of persecution and violence for being LGBTQ+, which led him to seek asylum in the United States. He describes his experience being outed to family, the decline of his mental health, and his relationship to faith, as well as the process of seeking an education and asylum.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Luis Mancheno
Date: November 23, 2020
Location: Brooklyn, NY (Virtual)
Content Warning: Descriptions of suicidal thoughts, violence, and homophobia.
Summary: An immigrant from Ecuador, Luis discusses his experiences of persecution and violence for being LGBTQ+, which led him to seek asylum in the United States. He describes his experience being outed to family, the decline of his mental health, and his relationship to faith, as well as the process of seeking an education and asylum.
Topics: Family, Religion, Sexuality, Mental Health, Violence, Discrimination, Politics, Education, Asylum-Seeker, Career, Historical Context
Section 1: 0:00-14:18
Family - Grew up in Quito with parents and sisters; grandmothers helped raise him.
Religion - Parents converted to Evangelicalism although the rest of the family and most of Ecuador was Catholic.
Spent a lot of time during his childhood at church and Bible studies.
Sexuality - Felt different from others; realized that he was attracted to men but felt like he needed to suppress this.
Section 2: 14:18-25:34
Mental Health - Felt trapped by inability to express his identity.
Sexuality - While visiting the US, he was able to meet other gay men through chatrooms.
Met with a gay friend while in Quito, but his aunt had seen him there.
Religion - His aunt forced him to “confess” to being gay, which was seen as a religious sin.
Section 3: 25:34-32:24
Sexuality - His aunt told his parents, against his will that he was gay.
Religion - Led him to start to think that maybe he was a “sinner” like his family portrayed him to be.
Mental Health - Considered taking his own life
Family, Violence - Physically assaulted by his father after finding out he was gay.
Religion - Asked God to change him so that he was no longer gay.
Section 4: 32:24-44:35
Religion, Sexuality, Discrimination - Pressured by family to attend conversion therapy.
Sexuality - Family thought he was “cured”.
Section 5: 44:35-51:55
Violence, Sexuality - Someone had tried to murder him by making his car crash, but he survived.
Violence, Discrimination - The perpetrator wrote a homophobic slur on the car; it was a hate crime.
Religion - Asked God to “erase the word gay from [his] life”.
Section 6: 51:55-57:28
Politics - Police did not file a report because they claimed not to have jurisdiction over the gay bar.
Education - Sought a program to study abroad so that he could escape the trauma at home.
Financial Struggles - Had to work a night shift job while studying full-time to be able to sustain himself.
Section 7: (Part 2 of Recording) 0:00-11:45
Sexuality - Excited to see LGBTQ+ culture much more celebrated and normalized in the US.
Asylum-Seeker - Applied for asylum in the US while on his study abroad semester.
Family - While waiting for the asylum application result, his grandfather passed away.
Family - Soon after, his father was diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer; sought permission from the government to visit him.
Section 8: 11:45-18:42
Family - Took care of his father in his last days; developed a new and strengthened relationship with him.
Sexuality - His father expressed in his last days that he was proud of Luis and accepted his sexuality.
Career - Attended law school and became a lawyer representing immigrants; uses his skills to promote justice and prosperity.
Family - Got married in 2015 with 40 of his family members present.
Historical Context - Interview to be released on January 20, 2021 (Inauguration Day of President Biden and Vice President Harris), a historical moment when the US comes closer to its ideals.