SF agency assists LGBT refugees, asylum seekers

Published: August 26, 2010

A little known agency founded two years ago in San Francisco is helping to shine a spotlight on the plight of LGBT refugees around the globe who are fleeing persecution in their home countries.

The Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, called ORAM for short, is the brainchild of Neil Grungras, an openly gay lawyer who specializes in immigration and refuge law whose career has included stints with the State Department and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

Since founding ORAM in 2008, Grungras has devoted himself full time to growing the nonprofit. He oversees its program in Turkey for LGBT Iranians seeking to immigrate to Western countries and lobbies United Nations officials in Geneva about the needs of LGBT asylum seekers and refugees from around the globe.

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