Stockholm Pride for LGBTQ newcomers
This week as Stockholm Pride is celebrating its 20th anniversary and Radio Sweden visited the RFSL Newcomer Asylum Forum, which is hosting panels and other events specifically for LGBTQ asylum seekers and new arrivals.
LGBTQ asylum seekers face a different set of struggles compared to others in the community as well as compared to other asylum seekers. One of the main differences, according to RFSL Newcomers national coordinator Jasminé Mehho, is that queer and trans people have to prove the "credibility" of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Jasmine and Cihan said that the Swedish government and Migrationsverket's approach to LGBTQ immigrants need to change.
In June, the Migration Agency released a statement saying every asylum application is handled individually. They made clear that there are no “gay tests”, but that the questions they ask are to determine if a person is a member of a group at risk, rather than investigating an individual’s sexuality per se.
In Sweden, a person can apply for asylum if they are fleeing from war, a victim of persecution, or at risk of inhumane treatment, this includes LGBTQ people in certain countries.
Suma, a trans woman from Egypt, said one of the most amazing moments she has had since she coming to Sweden was when she received an ID that identified her as a woman. She said before moving to Sweden, the last time she felt safe was when she was 14 years old before her father beat her so badly that she was left in a coma.
"It was my first fight," she said. "But I woke up... I am here and fighting for our rights as LGBTQ refugees."
Stockholm Pride runs through August 6th.
More on the rights of LGBTQ newcomers in this information pack, published by RFSL and the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society.