For immigrants, settling down somewhere new while continuing to support loved ones back home is often challenging. This can be especially complicated for LGBTQIA+ immigrants who fled their home countries to avoid violence, discrimination and other negative interactions and outcomes as it relates to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This is particularly true for people from countries like Nigeria, Russia or Honduras, which have been earmarked by Amnesty International as some of the most worrisome for LGBTQIA+ individuals.
For whatever reason you left home, settling into a new country in any capacity is a lot to manage. But there are ways to make this adjustment period easier. Below, Be BOLD Psychology and Consulting shares tips that can guide you to help your family at home while increasing understanding between your cultures.
Sending Financial Assistance
Many immigrants in the United States provide financial assistance to their families at home, so you may be trying to save more. Talking about money with your family can be complicated, but if you know that they need your financial support, it’s time to have an honest discussion. Discuss your financial situation and their economic needs so that you can find a happy medium in terms of what you can give. You can adjust your budget and cut back on spending your disposable income to send money back to your family. In addition to helping your family financially, you can also donate money to LGBTQIA+ support organizations back in your hometown.
When it comes to sending money home, you have options, but it quickly becomes expensive if you rely on bank transfers. A wire transfer service is a great alternative. For example, if you’re sending money home to family in Nigeria, a site like Remitly guarantees safe and secure transfers to several banks and more than 3,600 pickup locations, and fees are significantly lower than a bank transfer. You can also track your payment for extra peace of mind.
Consider a Business
Although finding a job is paramount, there are other ways to make money. If you’d like to focus on your financial future and boost your income, you could consider striking out on your own and starting a business. By forming your company as an LLC, you’ll enjoy tax breaks that will allow you to send more money back home. Research North Carolina’s rules and requirements for establishing an LLC, and then save on lawyer fees by filing through an affordable online formation service instead. There is also plenty of information online at the NC Secretary of State to help you navigate this process, cost-free.
What if you want to be able to make large donations to organizations in your community that support LGBTQIA+ immigrants, or nonprofits back home that aim to help LGBTQIA+ individuals? You can fundraise to come up with the money! If you already volunteer with an organization, you could suggest the idea to them, or you could use a crowdfunding platform to fundraise on your own.
Become an Advocate
You can share your own story about immigrating with the world, and through the power of the Internet, you can reach other LGBTQIA+ immigrants as well and serve as an advocate. By sharing your experiences online, you can educate and inform a worldwide audience, including people from your home country and your new neighbors. There are many resources available, including Lambda Legal, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the Transgender Law Center.
If you have an article idea, you can pitch it to a digital publication. Writer’s Digest recommends keeping your pitch brief, explaining your idea, and suggesting possible sources. Alternatively, you could start your own blog!
Offer Personal Help
Finally, you can always lend a helping hand to people from your home country who are interested in moving to the United States. Perhaps an old friend needs help with a visa application, or your sibling wants to apply to a college in the USA as an international student. You could also answer your loved ones’ questions about what life is like for LGBTQIA+ people where you live now. Immigrating is hard, but sharing your advice with your loved ones will make the process a little easier for them.
As an immigrant, you might feel like you live in between two worlds. And if you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community, too, you may wonder how to relate to others as your true self. It’s not always an easy situation to navigate, but you can bridge the gaps between your communities. At Be BOLD Psychology and Consulting, we also offer group therapy and support groups geared towards creating space specifically for queer, transgender, gender-diverse, and LGB+ folx. You can learn more about our current therapy group offerings here or contact us to learn more. Lastly, we have an entire resource page dedicated to transgender, gender-diverse, gender queer, and nonbinary folx – check it out here!
With these tips, you’ll find it easier to express every aspect of your identity, support your family at home, and make new connections where you are now.
If you find yourself needing to talk to someone about your situation, connect with Be BOLD Psychology and Consulting today. We specialize in inclusive therapy for LGBTQIA+ individuals, in addition to counseling for trauma or substance abuse. You don’t have to make this transition alone. 919-300-5221
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