b'FINDING ACCEPTANCEIN A NEW HOMEOlgagrewupinRussia,inasocietywhereholding signs with messages of love, the police homosexuals are either closeted or attacked andsoonarrived,chasing,beating,andarresting shunned,andwithamotherwhodisparagedtheprotesters.Whilebleedingandinpain her for spending too much time with other girls.fromabrokenfinger,Olgaenduredseveral AlthoughOlgadidntunderstandthatshewashoursincustody,wherethepolicerepeatedlyMarthas fierce alesbianwhenshefirstbecameattractedtothreatened and ridiculed her. When they finallycommitment to other girls, she greatly preferred the company ofbrought her home, police told her mother thather client and females and was bullied in high school for herlesbianshavenorightsinRussia,andOlgas close friendship with a female classmate. By themotherblamedherforwhathadoccurredher exceptional time she came to terms with her sexuality, Olgathat day.legal work helped had endured trauma and ridicule. She decidedBecause Olga had arranged to spend that summer to pursue a work-study program abroad in thein the United States on a work-study visa, sheOlga successfully United States in 2009, which she hoped wouldwas able to leave Russia about a month later. Onnavigate a daunting provide a more welcoming environment. WhileaccountofhertreatmentinRussia,including shewashere,however,Russiabecomeevenand uncertain more dangerous for LGBTQ people, leading Olgamostrecentlyhertraumaticexperiencesat thedemonstration,sheimmediatelybeganasylum application toseekasylumhere.MintzattorneyMarthaexperiencingpanicattacks,insomnia,process. We at Koster helped her successfully navigate a processnightmares,backpain,andheadaches,which that was made even more complex because Olgashe continued to suffer for several years.PAIR are extremely applied several years after the deadline, whichgrateful for Marthas isoneyearaftertheapplicantsarrivalintheIntheUnitedStates,ittookherseveralyears United States. to fully embrace her LGBTQ identity and beginpartnership with OlgawastreatedharshlyinRussiawhento build a life for herself. She found her way tous, her generous shedevelopedromanticrelationshipswithBoston, where she enrolled in a language school and pieced together a living teaching at a dayspirit, and othergirls.Shewasinsulted,shunned,andcare center and giving private lessons in Russianher deeply evenphysicallyattackedbyherfellowand piano. Meanwhile, although Olgas mother classmates.Herprofessorslikewisetreatedwas still in Russia, she continued to pressure hercaring attitude.her badly on account of her sexual orientation,daughter to date men and find one she wanted rescindinganoffertorecommendherforANITA P. SHARMAascholarshipabroad,refusingtoprovideto have a family with. In 2010, Olga married aExecutive Directorreferences,andgivingherafailinggradeclassmatefromBangladesh,butthemarriagePAIR Projectonanassignmentbecausehertopicwasended about a month later when Olga realized she freedomandLGBTQrights.Shewasrebukedwas unable to have a physical relationship with a byherdepartmentchairaswell,whotoldman. Although the experience was emotionally herthatpeoplelikeherwouldruinthepainful,itclarifiedOlgasfeelingsabouther universitys image. sexualorientation.Shefoundagirlfriend, joined LGBTQ groups, and participated in Gay SheturnedtoadvocacytotrytochangethePride events.waylesbiansweretreated,joiningpeacefulOlga had always planned to return to Russia, but protestersatademonstrationinMoscowin 2013, political changes made her realize that inMayof2009.Whilesheandotherswere PERSPECTIVES // Mintz Pro Bono Journal 27'