Debevoise Secures Pro Bono Victory in Gaining Asylum for a Transgender Woman from Guyana

19 April 2021

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP lawyers, with support from Immigration Equality, obtained asylum for Ms. S., a 34-year-old transgender woman from Guyana who experienced past persecution and feared future persecution on account of her gender identity and perceived sexual orientation. For her entire life, Ms. S. faced extensive verbal and physical abuse at the hands of family members, acquaintances, passersby and the Guyanese police. She tried reporting the abuse to the police, but all of her complaints were ignored, with the police at times blaming her for the violence she suffered, subjecting her to arbitrary arrest, and even abusing her. Ms. S.’s situation escalated after she was publicly “outed” in 2018, which resulted in increased violence and threats against her, and forced Ms. S. to flee to the United States shortly thereafter. Ms. S. worked diligently with the Debevoise team to gather evidence for her case, in spite of the risks involved.

Immigration Equality, through direct legal services, policy advocacy and impact litigation, advocates for immigrants and families facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status.

The Debevoise team was led by partner Ina Popova and counsel Jennifer Cowan and included associates Matthew French, Melanie Calero and Anjali Mehta.