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EM-LIFE Round Table

Updated: Apr 2

LGBTI Migrants and Refugees - Challenges and Recommendations

🌈 In today's interconnected world, the challenges faced by queer migrants and refugees demand our attention and collective action. A recent round table discussion brought together experts and advocates to shed light on the complex issues surrounding this marginalized community. From the discussions emerged a clear picture of the challenges faced and potential solutions that can pave the way towards a more inclusive and empowering future.


Multiple speakers, including Mahmoud Assy, Rafael Escudero, Rodrigo Araneda, and Safa Charafi, emphasized the challenges faced by LGBTI migrants and refugees in various aspects of their lives. These challenges include limited integration opportunities into the workforce, discrimination within the asylum and immigration system, inadequate support systems, and limited access to housing and healthcare. There is a clear consensus among the speakers that LGBTI migrants face unique and severe challenges, often due to their intersectional identities, such as being transgender or coming from specific cultural backgrounds. There is an urgent need for nuanced understanding and targeted solutions to address these specific challenges.

Another shared challenge highlighted by the speakers, including Gerard Coll-Planas, Fien Van Wolvelaer, and Corinne Huybers, is the limited awareness and understanding of queer identities within both host communities and migrant communities. The lack of comprehensive knowledge perpetuates stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination against LGBTI individuals. This limited awareness is evident in the asylum and immigration system, social integration courses, and the provision of public services. The speakers underscored the need to broaden cultural perspectives, challenge ethnocentrism, and develop inclusive policies and practices that recognize and respect diverse gender and sexual identities.

Additionally, speakers such as Rafael Cazarin and Sevak Khachatryan addressed the intersection of religion, gender, and migration as a significant challenge for LGBTI migrants. They highlighted the conflicts within migrant communities concerning religion and its impact on sexuality, health decisions, gender relations, and family bonds. This intersection poses challenges in terms of societal acceptance, access to supportive services, and the development of policies that adequately address the needs of queer migrants. There is a shared call for further research, engagement with religious leaders, and the development of strategies that navigate and reconcile the complexities of religion and LGBTI identities.

👉 Solutions:

Speakers, including Mahmoud Assy, Rafael Escudero, Rodrigo Araneda, and Safa Charafi, underscored the importance of targeted solutions and support systems for LGBTI migrants and refugees. These solutions include developing comprehensive integration programs that address the specific challenges faced by different groups within the LGBTI community, such as transgender individuals. There is a shared commitment to creating safe spaces, empowering community leaders, and providing advocacy training to amplify the voices of LGBTI migrants and refugees. The speakers emphasized the need to prioritize the intersectionality and multidimensionality of queer migrants and refugees in all project activities and interventions.

Another key recommendation echoed by several speakers, including Gerard Coll-Planas, Fien Van Wolvelaer, and Corinne Huybers, is the importance of education, awareness, and inclusive policies. These solutions involve challenging stereotypes, broadening cultural perspectives, and promoting inclusive narratives of gender and sexuality. The speakers called for educational programs, workshops, and resources that go beyond Western concepts of gender and sexuality, acknowledging the diverse histories and experiences of LGBTI individuals from different cultural backgrounds. The development and implementation of inclusive policies at the local, regional, and national levels are seen as crucial to creating an enabling environment for LGBTI migrants and refugees.

Furthermore, speakers such as Rafael Cazarin and Sevak Khachatryan highlighted the importance of population sensitization and the need for a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between religion and LGBTI identities. Speakers also called for further research to inform evidence-based policies and interventions that effectively navigate the intersection of religion and LGBTI identities.

EMLIFE Round Table Report
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