Meet Our Team
Okan Sengun, Esq.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Okan Sengun is the Executive Director and Co-founder of the LGBT Asylum Project, the leading San Francisco-based nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to providing legal representation for LGBTQ+ immigrants who are fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in the United States. The LGBT Asylum Project is the very first immigration law group to be located in the historic Castro, a beacon of hope just across the rainbow crosswalk.
Okan is also the founding attorney of Okan Immigration Law Group, a private law group that handles marriage-based green card and naturalization applications as well as asylum cases based on political opinion, race, nationality and religion.
Okan served as the San Francisco Asylum Office Liaison, the LGBT Coordinator and on the Advisory Council of American Immigration Lawyers Association, Northern California Chapter between 2012 and 2018.
Okan Sengun serves as a panel attorney at AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP) and was awarded as the “Attorney of the Year” in 2016 by the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.
Okan is also a mentor immigration attorney at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and he is a member of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF). Okan worked at several non-profit organizations and law firms in California and Turkey prior to starting Okan Immigration Law Group and the LGBT Asylum Project. Okan is admitted to New York Bar and U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit.
Brooke A. Westling, Esq.
Co-Founder and Legal Director
Brooke Westling is a California-licensed attorney who is dedicated to fighting human rights abuses by challenging social and legal constraints on gender and sexuality. She first realized the crucial need for greater social awareness and legal advocacy in this realm after serving as a high-school peer group facilitator, addressing gender and sexuality biases among high school students, as an undergrad at The Ohio State University. After graduating with a BA in Psychology, Political Science, and Women's Studies, Brooke went on to obtain a JD from Capital University Law School in 2009 then relocated to the Bay Area. In 2015, she received her LL.M. in International Legal Studies from Golden Gate University School of Law, where she focused on human rights. Brooke began working on asylum cases with Okan Sengun in January of 2015. The two co-founded the Center for Immigrant Protection in order to alleviate the financial burden placed on their clients. Brooke currently serves as a Panel Attorney for the Aids Legal Referral Panel, is a member of BALIF (Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom) and of the Policy Subcommittee of Women Get It Done. She is also a member of the State Bar of California.
Director of Operations
Kenan is an LGBT activist and has been working on LGBT issues for more than 10 years both in Turkey and in the United States. He was born and raised in Gaziantep, Turkey, and moved to the U.S. in 2013. He is an active member of The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, The Turkish-American Gezi Platform and Kaos GL (a Turkish-based LGBT nonprofit organization), and he is thrilled to be a part of The LGBT Asylum Project. He is also a resident makeup artist at Golden Thread Productions.
Asylum Case Manager
Oscar Franco is a first-generation American, whose parents are both immigrants from Ecuador. He is bilingual (Spanish and English). Oscar is also a first-generation college graduate and he is a third year law student. From a young age, his parents advocated for undocumented immigrants and instilled this same passion for justice in Oscar. During his time as an undergraduate, he worked with LGBTQ homeless and at-risk youth of color during this time. Oscar also worked with undocumented families and youth on their asylum applications and translations from Spanish to English. Once he graduates law school Oscar will pursue a career as a passionate immigration attorney and assist underserved communities in whatever way he can. Through The LGBT Asylum Project, Oscar is currently working on assisting asylum seekers with their asylum filings, declarations, supporting evidence and country conditions research.
Britt Hayse, President of Hayse Group, Inc, has been working in resource development and grants administration since 2007. She has raised over $10 million in public and private sources for diverse nonprofits in sectors such as education, health, and economic development. She held progressive development positions before founding her consulting firm and now offers grant writing, grant administration, fundraising, and related services to clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. She holds an MA in International Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and a BA in Global Studies from UC Santa Barbara.