Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.

← Initiatives

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

Responding to the needs and defending the rights of LGBTQ+ immigrant communities in detention.
The QDEP liberation march

LOCATION: New York, New York

The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) is a post-release support, detention center visitation, direct service, and community organizing project that works with lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, two-spirit, transgender, intersex, gender non-conforming, and HIV+ (LGBTQIA*GNCTS) immigrant prisoners currently in detention centers and their families, those that have been recently released from detention centers, and those at risk of entering immigration detention in the tri-state area. 

QDEP is committed to assisting immigrants in building lives outside of detention, breaking down the barriers that prevent them from building fulfilling and productive lives, and keeping queer families intact by demanding an end to deportations, detention, and policing. 

QDEP is participating in and leading the #FreeThemAll campaign within the New York/New Jersey AbolishICE coalition to advocate for the release of all immigrants from detention centers, abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the prison system, and the overall carceral state. Participants gained skills to lead rallies, campaigns, workshops, etc. Graduated participants are currently and actively engaged in QDEP’s community organizing program, leading their campaign work and making decisions for the organization. Participants have worked on and led multiple direct actions and campaigns where they played various roles.

QDEP and UUSC have been partners since 2017. UUSC’s support helps them continue to be an important element in the migration justice movement and bring a critical voice to conversations about the treatment of trans and gender-nonconforming migrants in detention, as well as broadening the way in which the immigrant rights movement defines “family.”

Image Credit: UUSC