Gay Jamaican asylum seekers find new life in US with LGBT task force

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10/08/2019

Maurice Newman was thriving in Jamaica, fulfilling his dreams. He was teaching the fifth grade and also traveling for the government, training fellow teachers. He was building his life, living in the upper-middle class with an apartment and nice car. Then his life flipped around in an instant when police discovered his sexuality. “All that changed when people find out you’re gay. Because in Jamaica, it’s a very homophobic country. By law, being gay is illegal. You can go to prison for 10 years maximum with hard labor,” Newman recalled in an interview. “That’s not even scary. The scariest part is the community in which you live, in which you invested, in which you helped to develop, if those people find out that you’re gay, they themselves will try to kill you and that’s exactly what happened to me.” Newman, 26, said Jamaican police saw him in his car with another man. It led to a chase, where Newman said he was able to evade police.

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