New Explanatory Videos Answer Asylum System Related Questions12. April 2021
To date, four of these explanatory videos have already been produced. They are available in Arabic, German, English and Persian. Staff members of the Rosa Strippe and/or visitors representing Senlima, the programme for LGBTI refugees and migrants in Bochum assumed the roles of voice over artists. “Our aim is to ensure that virtually all queer refugees have easy access to information covering the rights in the asylum process. Hence, our videos are not only available on the project website, but for instance also accessible on YouTube,” explains Lilith Raza of the Queer Refugees Deutschland project. The team plans to make explanatory videos available in additional languages on the LSVD project website, specifically in French, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu.
Links to more information:
- Detailed Legal Guide in German
- German Case Law with Reference to Specific Countries of Origin
- All Specialized Points of Contact for LGBTI Refugees in Germany
Four “Queer Refugees Deutschland” refugee activists in a debate with judges and attorneys1. April 2021
Patrick Dörr (LSVD federal board member) and Philipp Braun (former ILGA-Co-Secretary General) delivered the introduction and discussed numerous legal aspects with the 41 connected judges, attorneys and BAMF staff members, which time and again play a role in court proceedings combating negative notifications sent to lesbian, gay and bisexual applicants. Four queer activists, all of them members of the Germany-wide refugee network of the LSVD project “Queer Refugees Deutschland,” complemented the legal debate with reports on experiences made in their countries of origin and with the asylum process:
In this context, Ahmad Khalid* from Egypt described the massive problems he encountered during his hearing, especially with an extremely homophobic interpreter. He also recounted the systematic persecution of the LSBTI* Community by the Egyptian government. Apparently, the situation on location saw another catastrophic peak after a concert of the Lebanese band Mashrou‘ Leila in September 2017. Since then, the government has been taking systematic aim at the queer community.
Meri Petrosyan talked about the strongly embedded homophobic attitudes in her home country. Lesbians, gays and bisexual individuals are reportedly exposed to vast homophobic violence without any protection as a result. Accordingly, law enforcement is usually also homophobic and, as a rule, therefore provides no protections. In her experience, the BAMF does not actually acknowledge these societal realities in the relatively small country, where everyone knows everybody and where living under the radar is virtually impossible.
Pamir Ceyhan* from Iran described the immense persecution of queer individuals in Iran, where same sex activities between men can still result in the death penalty. Not only are numerous transgender people who do not wish to have surgeries performed subjected to operations, so are lesbians and gays who are forced to have surgeries and are mutilated by such interventions. Unfortunately, he and his Turkish husband subsequently ran into grave problems in Germany to be jointly recognized as a gay couple and therefore entitled to protection.
On the other hand, LSBTI activist Baküs Mejri experienced the positive side of the asylum process. In his presentation, he described primarily the interactions of the Tunisian police with queer individuals. Accordingly, it does not offer any protection against hostile violence against LSBTI persons and is even still using moral laws to randomly arrest individuals who are supposedly queer. While incarcerated, the prisoners are subjected to anal tests, which are internationally classified as acts of torture, with the aim of proving homosexuality, which is a fallacious supposition.
“With their four life stories, the activists have once again reminded us of what kind of lives lesbians, gays and bisexual persons are restricted to in many countries where they have to hide out from the government, society and frequently even their own families every single day,” observes Henny Engels, who also attended the event on behalf of the LSVD federal board.
*This is not the actual name of the individual, but an alias.
Hostility and violence targeting the LGBTI Community in shelters for refugees: protection concept study of the German federal states uncovers massive deficiencies26. February 2021
The State of Saxony’s protection concept fares especially unfavorably in the scientific analysis with just 5 % of these measures, while the concept of the State of Bremen at least has more than half of the measures in place. However, better protection is urgently needed: in housing facilities, LGBTI refugees very frequently become victims of violence and, according to EU Directive 2013/33/EU, are therefore considered a vulnerable group that requires protection in Germany for good reasons. The lack of established protective measures thus also means – according to Träbert and Dörr – that Germany continues to fail to meet its European obligations in this field. Not having protections in place has an immense impact on the stakeholders. In the fear zone of refugee shelters, they hardly ever find the courage to talk about their needs. As a rule, the fear of being outed is too overwhelming and the prior experiences with the government and society in their countries of origin are too terrifying.
The two authors explain that the failure to offer necessary, trust building measures does not only prevent effective protection against violence at their accommodations, it also keeps many refugees from even bringing up the persecution they experienced at home during the asylum proceedings. “Consequently, it is an urgent requirement that the states better manifest the protection of queer refugees in their protection concepts,” says Patrick Dörr, who has been a member of the LSVD Board since October 2020.
Special new information for transgender refugees26. December 2020
In recent years, the LGBTI refugee issue has gained significant visibility and attention. Nevertheless, the specific needs of transgender refugees have only been minimally considered in the development of consulting materials. As a result, Cologne’s LGBTI advisory office rubicon and the trans association Netzwerk Geschlechtliche Vielfalt Trans* NRW have developed a guide that targets specifically transgender refugees. The guide explains terminology, provides information on the steps towards transition that can be taken in Germany and lists helpful contacts to trans organizations and the trans community. LSVD project Queer Refugees Deutschland has adapted and translated this guide, so that the content is now available on its website in nine languages under the Trans+ section.
Besides reliable asylum process and accommodations information, many transgender persons need medical services in conjunction with their transition. However, while the asylum proceedings are ongoing, they only have limited access to medical services; all too often the medical services they need are therefore blocked. The expert evaluation Zugang zu trans*spezifischen medizinischen Leistungen für Personen im Asylverfahren recently published by the Schwulenberatung Berlin thus takes aim at the medical services entitlement of transgender persons from a legal perspective. Authors Dr. Lena Kreck and Maya Markwald present the legal grounds as to why transgender persons are entitled to full access to medical services they need in conjunction with their transition even while the asylum process is ongoing.