Queer Refugees: The Untold Stories

Considering the lack of information regarding the Queer Refugees and aiming at better understanding their reality, various guests were invited to discuss this topic and explore how we can further achieve a better understanding of the issue at hand.

The first guest was Djenk Ejup, board member of the Queer Refugee Committee in Brussels, a local organisation which he opened with other LGBTQI+ refugees to advocate for queer refugee rights. Evin Incir, who is a Member of the European Parliament from the Socialists & Democrats group was also present followed by Malin Bjork also a Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the LGBTQI Intergroup. Petrus Theunisz, a Human Rights Expert that has worked with queer refugees from the Balkans for more than two decades was also a participant along with Haris Eloy, project manager of Newcomers Youth in Sweden and Alexandra Politidis, a lawyer and migration policy expert. It’s worth noting that Djenk and Haris are both also refugees.

The participants touched upon a lot of layers that this topic covers. Most importantly testimonies were heard presenting the harsh endeavours queer refugees are facing and the need for the EU to play a crucial part for their safety and wellbeing. Responding to this, there was a direct interaction and empathetic approach from the MEPs, showing and explaining directly their work regarding asylum seeking aiming at making the EU more inclusive, especially towards the LGBTQI+ community.

On another level while talking about the actions that organisations or individuals can take in order to help this community, the issues that queer refugees are encountering when leaving their home countries and when entering the European Union were also put forward. The difficulty of having information about persecution emanating from the private sphere of life was underlined also as a decisive factor of the conditions that queer refugees may face.

This Coffee With was a key moment for all of the parties as it gave the opportunity for the around 50 participants that attended to engage directly with practically experienced people on the matter and learn more about this pressing issue.