Welcome to LGBTQI+ refugees
Many people around the world face persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression (SOGI). Leaving their country of origin becomes their only means of survival; fleeing persecution to find refuge in a host country where new labels are added to those of the LGBTQI+ communities: those of refugee, foreigner or migrant. It is to improve the reception of these people facing the intersectionality of discrimination that we have joined forces with Pour la Solidarité-PLS and three European partners to create the RainboWelcome project!
Firstly, because LGBTQI+phobias, i.e. intolerance towards people whose sexual orientation or gender identity does not fit what is defined as “the norm”, still exist, causing physical and psychological violence and leading LGBTQI+ people to experience discrimination and isolation.
Where such violence can result – sometimes legally – in death, imprisonment or social exclusion in various countries around the world, LGBTQI+ persons may have to leave their country of origin and seek asylum elsewhere, where their safety should be assured and their rights protected. This particular situation often involves additional discrimination and prejudice. RainboWelcome aims to address this population at the intersection of two factors: being on the LGBTQI+ spectrum and being an asylum seeker or refugee.
Secondly, in the European Union, specialised institutions that focus on only one of these populations are not trained in the necessary intersectional approach.
Refugee reception centres do not always have the knowledge and capacity to safely accommodate LGBTQI+ refugees, while LGBTQI+ shelters are not specialised in supporting refugees or aware of their specific needs.
In the framework of this project, our tasks are to
– Identify the legal procedures and concrete processes for the reception of LGBTQI+ refugees;
– Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the responses to their specific needs;
– Equip the structures involved with the necessary tools for the reception and orientation of these people;
– Raise awareness of the situation of LGBTQI+ refugees;
– Advocate their rights and needs to the EU.
RainboWelcome is a project rooted in today’s realities: it is essential to understand the phenomena of intersectionality that currently lead to increased vulnerability for some people. RainboWelcome is about working together to build a more welcoming and inclusive society.
With the RainboWelcome project, we and our partners intend to provide useful advice to various organisations and the professionals working in them. We are therefore creating different tools that will be made available in different languages, for everyone and free of charge, on the project website.
As the first step in our project, the RainboWelcome study on the reception of LGBTQIA+ refugees in Europe provides an overview and critical analysis of the current regulatory frameworks and procedures related to protection and asylum claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The study is available in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Catalan below:
LGBTIQ+ shelters map
The RainboWelcome interactive map shows the LGBTQI+ shelters available in Europe, as well as the good practices that have been put in place to better meet the needs of LGBTQI+ refugees in Europe. The map is currently being developed, so if you would like to have your shelter included, you can complete this form.
This project brings together practitioners and experts:
- In Belgium, Pour la Solidarité and Le Refuge Bruxelles
- In Spain, ACATHI
- In France, Le Refuge
- In Italy, la Croce Rossa Italiana
This project is co-financed by the European programme Rights Equality and Citizenship (REC).