SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Research shows migrants who identify as members of the LBGTQ+ community aren’t only fleeing persecution over their sexual orientation but for other overriding factors.

Macarena Williamson, a Brazilian social science professor and researcher now in Mexico, says her research shows most LBGTQ+ migrants have faced discrimination due to their sexual leanings but the overriding reason for leaving their hometowns is the lack of job opportunities, poverty and violence.

“For LBGTQ+ migrants there are many reasons why they are fleeing their countries of origin, their gender identity is just one of them,” said Williamson. “Some of the motives include the violation of their human rights, their precarious living conditions and brushes with violence.”

Macarena Williamson is a social science professor from Brazil. (Courtesy: Campinas State University)

Because of Mexico’s place on the map, many LBGTQ+ members are coming through this country and must be supported and helped, Williamson said.

“Mexico needs to strengthen its resources and create a network to meet the needs of the LBGTQ+ community and work with international organizations as a way to provide better services,” she said. “It needs to create safer and dignified pathways for them as they head to the United States.”

On the other hand, Williamson said it’s becoming more difficult for LBGTQ+ migrants to seek help from government agencies in countries they are passing through.

“Along their journey, they see different types of violence from different actors, I mean to say military police officers,” she said.

Williamson released her findings during the first day of a cultural conference at the Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a university in Tijuana and think tank for immigration.