In the face of global progress, there are still 67 countries that criminalise LGBTQIA+ partnerships. This stark reality, coupled with the heightened risks of violence and inadequate access to essential services, makes the plight of LGBTQIA+ refugees particularly challenging, especially in hostile environments like the UK.
Supporting LGBTQIA+ Refugees at Pride & Beyond, was held on June 14th, was a powerful platform for discussing the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers. As reported by the Human Dignity Trust, 67 countries still criminalise same-sex partnerships and LGBTQIA+ people, with 11 countries imposing or having the potential to impose the death penalty for same-sex intimacy. This hostile global environment puts LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers at a higher risk of homo- and trans-phobic violence, isolation from traditional support networks, and challenges in accessing suitable housing, healthcare, and other support services.
In the UK, xenophobic attitudes and a hostile legal system exacerbate these issues. Reports of individuals having to “prove” their sexuality within this system, and facing violence and abuse within immigration detention, are not uncommon. The recent impacts of the new Nationality and Borders Bill passed in 2022 have further complicated the situation.
The event featured expert speakers like Moud Goba, National Manager for Micro Rainbow, Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, and Reeta Loi, CEO of Gaysians. They shared their insights and experiences, shedding light on the pressing issues faced by LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers, and how we can support them.
In the words of Moud Goba, “We believe everyone has the right to safety and to love freely. That’s why this Pride Month and Refugee Week, TEDxLondon and The Conduit are coming together to shine a light on the challenges queer refugees face, why we must support LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers better and how we can go about doing this.”
As we move forward, it’s crucial to remember that supporting LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers is not just about providing immediate aid. It’s about creating a world where all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can live freely and safely. It’s about embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity. And most importantly, it’s about standing up for human rights and dignity.