Refugee Week 2024

The theme of 2024's Refugee Week is 'Our Home'. Read about home-making as a refugee in this piece.
Refugee Week

“To me, a home is where you feel loved, safe, and cherished.”Malala Yousafzai

The theme of Refugee Week in 2024 is: Our Home. However, all too often, for LGBTQI people, home isn’t a safe place. Many LGBTQI people face rejection from their families for their identity. For LGBTQI people living in the 60+ countries around the world where it is illegal to be gay, the world outside the home can be just as unsafe and discriminatory.

For the LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers in Micro Rainbow’s community, reaching the UK is a chance to finally find safety. Unfortunately, LGBTQI asylum seekers are not always safe when they reach the UK. They can be risk of homophobic and transphobic abuse in the accommodation they are placed in. Their new home can be just as unsafe as the one they were trying to escape.

Safe house to safe home

Micro Rainbow began supporting LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers in 2012. Many of the people who were supported by Micro Rainbow were suffering discrimination and abuse in their living situations. In 2017, Micro Rainbow created the first safe housing scheme for LGBTQI asylum seekers to provide people with a first chance at a safe, welcoming and inclusive home for LGBTQI asylum seekers.

For Refugee Week 2024, members of Micro Rainbow’s community of LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers have reflected on ideas of home. For many, remembering home is difficult. It can be associated with trauma and emotional pain. Noone leaves their home and seeks asylum in another country for trivial reasons.

Creating a new home

For those who have lived in Micro Rainbow’s safe housing for LGBTQI asylum seekers, they were given the chance to live openly and safely for the first time. For John, a gay man from Zimbabwe, the safe house he lived in was a blessing. It gave him the security he needed to begin moving on with his life. He was able to apply for university, and gather the evidence he needed for his asylum claim.

Kaira, an intersex person from a Latin American country, lived in a Micro Rainbow safe house while awaiting the outcome of their claim.

“The fear and uncertainty living in these other places was killing me. Now I finally feel safe because I live with people who respect me.
I know I can wake up and just do my make-up and be able to fully express myself without having to be afraid that someone is going to attack me or that someone is going to be judging me.”

Finding family

Leaving your home country in search of safety involves leaving everyone behind. For LGBTQI people, many of whom have been rejected by their families because of their identity, the risk of social isolation is high. They are often unable to access communities and networks of support. They can also be scared to be open about who they are.

Moving into a Micro Rainbow safe house can be the first step towards finding a new family. This was the case for Muhammed from Bangladesh. He was rejected by his family for being gay:

“Last time I talked to my mum, she told me ‘you just humiliate me, don’t come back’. And I can’t go back because my brothers are going to kill me”. Gay sex is illegal in Bangladesh, and the Bangladeshi community has not been a welcoming space for Muhammad in the UK either. However, he found acceptance in a Micro Rainbow safe house:

“Since I moved into the house, I’m happy. I have found a family”

Planning for a more positive future

Living somewhere safe and inclusive allowed Alana, a trans woman from Malaysia, to start planning for her future:

“Being in the house really made me feel like I have a place here, and that I want it to keep going. I felt content and my heart was always full. I really didn’t think that I would feel this way, but I did, and I have Micro Rainbow to thank.”

Many #LGBTQI asylum seekers must wait many years for a decision on their future. Micro Rainbow’s safe housing can provide real safety and stability during this time. For Omar, a gay man from Morocco, who waited 6 years for his asylum claim to be settled, it provided a stable home:

“I didn’t realise how much I would miss the Micro Rainbow house until I left. I felt so safe and secure there. I lived there for five years, it really was my home. I am so grateful to Micro Rainbow for giving me a hand in my life and for the support over the time I lived in the house”

Help us continue supporting LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers

This Refugee Week, help people who are forced to flee their home countries because of the persecution they face. Become a Micro Rainbow ally and support our safe housing programme.

Do you have a housing enquiry?

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