LGBT Ireland launches vital research on LGBTQ+ people seeking international protection

LGBT Ireland and the Irish Council for Refugees have launched important new research into LGBTQ+ people applying for International Protection in Ireland. It is hoped that the findings will inform better policies.

A photograph of one of the participants from the International Protection research conducted by LGBT Ireland the Irish Refugee Council. The photograph shows a man wearing a traditional South American hat with a red scarf. In the background is an Irish flag.
Image: 'Believe me or not I am who I am' report

LGBT Ireland in partnership with the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) has launched brand new research into the experiences of LGBTQ+ people going through the international protection process in Ireland.

As well as amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ people going through the process, the research titled ‘Believe me or not but I am who I am’ also provides targeted recommendations for reform in the international protection assessment that could make a significant difference for LGBTQ+ applicants.

Speaking about the research, Paula Fagan, CEO of LGBT Ireland, commended the bravery of the participants in sharing their stories.
“LGBT Ireland is delighted to publish this research during Pride month, June 2022. This year’s Pride theme is courage, and the courage of each LGBTI+ participant in this study is palpable.” 

She continued, “The courage to leave their homes and families, the courage to be true to themselves despite fear of persecution, the courage to make the often-hazardous journey to Ireland, and the courage to speak their truth about who they are within the international protection interview process, a daunting and sometimes overwhelming task.”

The research covered participants from a range of nationalities including different countries in Africa, South Asia and South America. 

During the interviews, all the participants spoke about the effects of internalised homophobia and how it impacts their ability to access services and support, especially in going through the International Protection Office (IPO) interviews.

One of them described: “Having to live two lives, it’s been hard mentally and physically – it’s hard, it is difficult but that’s the only way to survive and live in a world in a place where you are going to be persecuted for being who you are”

Another participant explained “Some of the questions are degrading and … too many questions which were too intrusive … How many persons you had sex? What was their name? Which state was he? What was their nationality? Did you enjoy? Was it lacking?”

It is hoped that the findings and recommendations of the report will inform better IPO policies when processing LGBTQ+ applicants.

You can read the full report here

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