Poverty, sexual orientation and refugees in the UK

This report shows that lesbian and gay refugees in the UK live below the poverty line, are isolated and discriminated against.
Micro Rainbow Report UK Cover
Click here to read the full report!

Micro Rainbow is happy to launch a report entitled “Poverty, Sexual Orientation and Refugees in the UK”, which is the only report ever published in the UK on the issues of poverty faced by lesbian and gay refugees [1].

Over the past year, Micro Rainbow consulted with and researched the situation of poverty of 50 lesbian and gay refugees in London and Manchester. Some of the findings of this report show that:

  • lesbian and gay refugees live below the poverty line and are at risk of destitution;
  • they are extremely isolated and are frequently ostracised by their families and co-nationals; and
  • there is much misinformation amongst UK employers in relation to refugees’ full entitlement to work and such employers often question the validity of their refugee documents, with the additional accusation or suspicion of forgery.

Micro Rainbow believes this report is useful not only to give a voice to the many lesbian and gay refugees who find themselves in situations of poverty but also, through its recommendations, to encourage LGBTQI, refugee and community organisations, service providers and policy makers to fight poverty among lesbian and gay refugees.

Micro Rainbow’s founder and CEO Sebastian Rocca said

“We hope that this report will start a conversation that is desperately needed: a dialogue that is not only about equal rights, equal opportunities and equal access to services but also about caring and treating each other with respect and dignity.”

Micro Rainbow is particularly pleased to launch this report on occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) [2]. Its International Research and Business Development Coordinator, Lucas Paoli Itaborahy said

On this day Micro Rainbow acknowledges the many lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex people around the world who live in situations of poverty and who are more likely to become and stay poor because of the discrimination, and at times persecution, that they face.” 

In addition to the discrimination LGBTQI people face, Micro Rainbow believes that they are also often missed or excluded from poverty reduction strategies, whose activities often maintain and reinforce heteronormative concepts of sexuality and gender identity. There is a desperate need for LGBTQI people to be consulted and fully included in such strategies.

The theme of this years’ IDEP is “Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty” which is very relevant to the work Micro Rainbow launches today. Sebastian Rocca added

With our report we hope to contribute to the fight against discrimination of LGBTQI people worldwide and to build our actions on the experience and knowledge of the many lesbian and gay refugees living in poverty that we consulted with.” 

[1] Trans and intersex refugees are often particularly traumatised when claiming asylum and might be even more at risk of being poor once they become refugees. More needs to be done to better understand these issues. Our current research does not include trans and intersex refugees.

[2] IDEP was established by the United Nations in 1993 to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries. Since then, fighting poverty has been at the core of the UN development agenda and became one of the most important Millennium Development Goals. Read more

[3] This project could not have happened without the financial support of Awards for All of the Big Lottery Fund, which we thank for their generosity and confidence in our work.

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