LGBT Asylum seekers
Homosexuality is fortunately fairly well accepted in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many other countries. LGBT people in those countries often hide their orientation from everyone around them, and live in constant tension. No matter how well they do their best, sometimes it is unavoidable that their disposition comes true. And then very threatening situations arise where people have to flee, often without a partner and any children. In the Netherlands, they are included in the asylum procedure just like any refugee. But because of everything they have experienced, LGBT refugees are often very vulnerable and traumatized.
In 2013 SHOUT was approached by Vluchtelingenwerk Oost Nederland, asking whether we could offer support to an LGBT refugee. Although we had no experience with this, we decided to accept this request. This was the start of the AZC Support committee, because we saw how important this support can be. Meanwhile, the committee consists of a stable group of about 7 people who have weekly meetings with LGBT refugees. This is often the first time that people can openly talk about their nature and everything they have experienced. We therefore mainly offer a listening ear, but also advise on the importance of openness to the lawyer and IND. In addition, we provide a picture of Dutch homosexual acceptance and guide it among all available organizations.
After such a first conversation, there is often a need for more contact. Especially the isolation of the AZCs is hard for many LGBT refugees. They can still not be open about their orientation because they often live with their fellow countrymen in the same complex. That’s why we invite them to come to our parties and pub evenings, and arrange transport so that they can come home safely. It is great to see how these people look their eyes at such a night and slowly crawl out of their shell. Many later indicate that such parties were really important in their further coming-out.
Since 2013, the AZC Support Committee has spoken 187 LGBT refugees from 34 different countries (figures up to the end of 2016).
If you have any questions or if you are interested, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.