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Lower Saxony Network Centre for the Interests of LGBTI* Refugees

Queer Refugees Lower Saxony – Lived Diversity

In July 2016 the state of Lower Saxony established a nationwide networking centre for the interests of LGBTI refugees – the NVBF. The NVBF is a project in cooperation with VNB e.V. and Andersraum e.V., with the participation of the QNN e.V. It is funded by the state of Lower Saxony.

In over 75 countries people who do not adhere to heteronormative ideals are persecuted; in many more countries they experience public discrimination or blackmailing. Those affected usually learn how to keep their sexual orientation a secret.

In order to protect themselves from rejection or violence in this already vulnerable situation it is expectable that the queer refugees will not immediately out themselves in Germany. If they do out themselves, they may be confronted with homo- and transphobic discrimination within their shared accommodation from both their fellow residents and from the staff. Therefore, the state of Lower Saxony views refugees with a LGBTI background as especially in need of protection.

The Lower Saxony administration now faces the challenge of creating an atmosphere where refugees can talk openly about their sexual and gender identity. The stance of the staff as well as the interpreters on queer issues thereby becomes particularly important for them to translate and document in the interests of the queer refugees.

The new networking centre intends to offer support during this process: to connect and give qualifications to those working in administration on the one hand, and those working in queer structures and with refugees on the other hand.

Through networking, the support offered to queer refugees becomes visible and more accessible. Additionally those working in this field have the option of continued educations and an exchange of experiences at the networking and qualification meetings.

Working with queer refugees requires intercultural competence and a large degree of self-reflexion. It is very important that those active in the scene, as well as our society as a whole, actively reject homophobia and racism. There’s room for everyone under the rainbow, therefore: Queer Refugees Welcome!

 

Events, workshops and networking meetings

Institutions, associations, initiatives and groups that provide services for LGBTI refugees in Lower Saxony have the opportunity to advertise their events on this schedule. Here, those working in this field can inform themselves on the events offered by this region und educate themselves further on this topic. In addition, you can stay updated on the current discourses surrounding refugees with regard to LGBTI issues on our Facebook page.

 

The cooperation partners

The NVBF is a project in cooperation with VNB e.V. and Andersraum e.V., with the participation of the QNN e.V. It is funded by the state of Lower Saxony. The skills of the cooperation partners cover the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities as well as the experiences of people from different cultural backgrounds, including knowledge of their specific living conditions and their experiences of displacement and seeking refuge. Hereby an intersectional approach is actualised, which considers the discrimination experienced due to their refugee status and ethnic origins as well as their homo-, trans- or intersexuality.

The Andersraum is the place for non-heteronormative life in Hannover. The basis of their work is on the one hand the volunteerism behind over twenty self-help groups accommodated by the Andersraum, and on the other hand the development of many consulting services, including the first qualified consultation for transgender people in Lower Saxony.

As a Lower Saxony umbrella organisation the QNN works with all groups, projects and associations on the LGBTI* spectrum in Lower Saxony. As an interface between self-help and politics on a state level it has been the cooperation partner of the state government in the implementation of the “Vielfaltskampagne” (diversity campaign). The central responsibility of the QNN since its formation in 1990 has been the application for grants for projects against discrimination of homosexual, transgender and intersex people from the ministry of social affairs in the state of Lower Saxony.

The VNB has long-standing and diverse experiences in refugee and migrant work with various cooperative partners on state, federal and EU level. In the state wide networking project AMBA – Aufnahmemanagement und Beratung von Asylsuchenden in Niedersachsen: admission management and consultation of asylum seekers in Lower Saxony (funded among others by the asylum, integration and migration funds of the EU as well as by the state of Lower Saxony) – the VNB is in charge of developing and testing concepts for the admission of refugees.

In practice this includes the qualification and continued education of the centres involved in the admission process, continued education for cooperative partners as well as the distribution and mediation of the solutions developed by the project. In this context the VNB held their first workshop in Lower Saxony on October 9th 2015 on the topic of gender specific causes for fleeing. Additionally for several years the VNB in cooperation with the Lower Saxony refugee council (Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen e.V.) has been offering seminars for the qualification of full-time employees and volunteers in refugee work.