When San Francisco Tried to Be the World’s ‘Queer Sanctuary’ for Refugees and Asylum Seekers

In the 2010s, the Bay Area Worked to Resettle LGBTQ People Fleeing Persecution—but Then Policies Changed

Early one morning in 2012, Subhi Nahas woke up in a hospital bed near Idlib, Syria. The bright, boyishly handsome 22-year-old couldn’t remember how he’d gotten there. The day before, his father had slammed Nahas’s head into the kitchen counter so hard that he had to be carried to the emergency room.

Around this time, a militia group called the Nusra Front, with ties to al-Qaida, had formed near Nahas’s town. He had heard rumors that they’d kidnapped and killed several gay men.

Nahas, who had near perfect grades in his third …