“You come from a place where people don’t like gay people. And you’re told people like gay people here. And it’s like, ‘yeah but not your type of gay people’. And you’re like oh my god where am I going to go now?” Person seeking asylum 2018.
People identifying as LGBTIQ+ face discrimination, exclusion and inequality in Australia and across the globe. In up to 76 countries being LGBTIQ+ is criminalised and people also face the death penalty in seven of those countries. This is a cause of displacement and consequent trauma. People from refugee backgrounds with diverse genders, sexualities and bodies live with double and even
triple discrimination in the local Australian context.
This paper will highlight some of these complex and intersecting issues as evidenced by a case study of a community-based social support group for people with a LGBTIQ+, asylum and refugee background. We will then address some of the challenges faced by workers navigating this relatively uncharted space by providing an overview of a cross-sector collaboration which not only raises awareness but creates and supports a space for genuine self-determination. This approach centres on the lived experience of the
client group to inform inclusive practice at the intersection of work between LGBTIQ+ service provision and the refugee and asylum
Overall, this presentation will offer a framework to effectively and collaboratively work with people from refugee backgrounds who identify as LGBTIQ+. It will further highlight the critical importance of collaboration between service providers, but more importantly between community worker and community if safe and sustainable change, and healing is to be achieved.