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KHRCA Colloquia 2016-2017: Fleeing Genocide: Displacement, Exile, and the Refugee:
Program 6. The LGBTQ Refugee Crisis


Program 6. The LGBTQ Refugee Crisis

Friday, March 24, 2017, 12:20-1:50, KHRCA

Daniel Dromm, New York City Councilman

Dr. Amy Traver, Associate Professor of Sociology and Education, Queensborough Community College

Pamela Denzer​ Client Programs Director at Immigration Equality

Sebastian Maguire, Esq., Legislative Director & Counsel, The New York City Council 

Description: Through personal stories of LGBTQ refugees and those who advocate for them, this program led by Councilman Dromm, examines the challenges facing LGBTQ populations as they flee from brutality and oppression, and navigate the complicated world of exile.


Daniel Dromm has been a progressive leader in Queens for over 20 years. An award-winning public school teacher, Dromm was elected to the New York City Council in 2009 and represents District 25 (Jackson Heights & Elmhurst). He serves as the Chair of the Education Committee. Dromm is the founder of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee and organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival, which he still participates in on the first Sunday in June in Jackson Heights. Dromm co-founded the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG), as well as the Generation Q Youth Services Program in Astoria. He also helped found the Queens Pride House.

Jamila is a queer first­ generation Tunisian­ Arab American woman of color community organizer & social worker from the south, now based in NYC. She is a founder and Executive Director of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project. She is a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College with a degree in Community Organizing Social Work, with a specialization in Immigrants and Refugees. She comes to this work with personal and familial experiences with addiction, the incarceration system, a background in reproductive justice, working to center woman of color’s voices in movements, and witnessing the impacts of migration and racism in her formative years in Texas. Jamila is a survivor of police brutality and the carceral system; but is fortunate to have been able to remain in the free world based on civil rights violations. She is also an organizer of the NYC chapter of Black & Pink, an organization run and led by those that are currently or are previously incarcerated and free world allies.

Pamela Denzer is part of the legal team at Immigration Equality. She represents LGBTQ and HIV-positive asylum seekers at asylum hearings and in Immigration Court and assists asylees with adjustment of status applications and HIV waivers. She also helps binational couples and transgender clients navigate US immigration laws that discriminate against LGBTQ and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. Ms. Denzer did course work at Fordham University Law School and was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law. Before joining Immigration Equality, Ms. Denzer worked as a BIA Accredited Representative at HIV Law Project representing HIV positive asylum seekers, handling adjustment of status cases involving HIV waiver issues, and providing technical assistance to attorneys and BIA Accredited representatives on HIV waiver issues.

Amy E. Traver is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Education at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her research interests include student success and experiential pedagogies in community college contexts, as well as intersections of race/ethnicity and gender in American family life. Her most recent publications in these areas include articles in Teaching Sociology, Internet and Higher Education (with Volchok, Bidjerano, and Shea), Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Focus, and International Journal of Sociology of the Family. She is also the co-editor (with Perel Katz) of Service-Learning at the American Community College (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), an edited volume reviewed as a “must read” that “suggests a strategy for reconsidering the priorities and practices of higher education.” Traver is a graduate of Colgate University (B.A., 1997), Harvard University (Ed.M., 1999), and the State University of New York at Stony Brook (Ph.D., 2008).

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