A major conference titled 'LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees: a case of double jeopardy?' is to be held in July in London.
The conference will be launched at the House of Lords 5 July (Hosted by Baroness Joyce Gould) and will be held at the University of Greenwich 6 – 7 July. Early bird registration opens today.
It is a major opportunity for stakeholders from the academic, public, voluntary and private sectors to discuss and debate issues around asylum seeking resulting from human rights violations based on sexuality and gender identity.
Organisation is by the University of Greenwich (School of Humanities and Social Sciences) and ICAS (Institute for the Converging Arts and Sciences) in collaboration with the Metropolitan Support Housing Partnership, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, Michael Bell Associates Research and Consultancy, Metro Centre and Stonewall Housing.
The platform is the Over Not Out – The Housing and Homelessness Issues Specific to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Asylum seekers (May 2009) research (commissioned by Metropolitan Support Trust).
The conference will explore the double jeopardy faced by LGBTI Asylum Seekers and Refugees. This is a double jeopardy brought to bear, in the first instance, due to the originating country’s position against any sexual orientation / gender identity which might be considered different from the norm and therefore the extreme difficulties a targeted person may find themselves facing (via state/cultural/legal/political intolerance). It is a double jeopardy, in the second instance, when the person claims asylum where community values, as well as the legal, educational, housing and health environments may come into conflict.
It will also examine the range of political/philosophical questions that immediately come to bear: What does it mean to be a ‘citizen’ in the context of asylum seeking? What does it mean to deal with ‘identity politics’ at a time when the very notion of identity and the political movements expressing ‘alternative’ identities seem also to be undergoing a re-think in terms of a postmodern / digital age economy? There is no doubt that digital technology and social media have had a profound influence in raising awareness about the plight of asylum seekers and refugees because it can transcend national borders. But can it be more?
The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for knowledge transfer between the academic, public, voluntary and private sectors. We hope that this will contribute to a long-term impact in the areas of social policy and international human rights.
The conference will be organised around two broad themes.
First Jeopardy: Fleeing Persecution
A range of workshops and seminars exploring why people seek refugee status based on their sexual orientation and what the legal and political responses are to those claims.
- The UN Convention Relating to Status of Refugees
- Homophobia and the universality of human rights
- The UN Convention against Torture
- The process of seeking asylum in the UK and elsewhere
- Discrimination and anti-gay violence around the world
- Response of LGBT communities
- Impact of new technologies
- Media representations
Public service providers in the UK are committed to policies that promote equality and inclusion for all. The conference will present a series of workshops and seminars exploring the extent to which the needs of LGBTI refuges and asylum seekers are being met with particular reference to the political landscape of equality and inclusion.
- The Equality Bill
- Health care, including mental health needs
- Housing and financial support
- Support networks which includes Refugee Community Organisations
- Media Representation
- New Technologies
- Response of LGBT communities
- Sexual exploitation
- The role of support organisations: Mainstream vs. Specialist
- The role of the Police regarding hate/race crime
Proposals should be between 200-350 words for individuals or 350-500 words for groups. It must include the presenter’s name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), email, phone number and postal address, together with the title of the session.
It is intended that the conference proceedings will be published.
- Please submit proposals to LGBTIASR.CONFERENCE@gre.ac.uk no later than 16 April.
- All proceeds above the cost of running the conference will be donated to UKLGIG (UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group).
- Monday 8 March
Early bird registration opens
- Friday 16 April
Submission proposal deadline
- Tuesday 4 May
Feedback on proposals
- Friday 14 May
Early bird registration deadline
- Friday 21 May
Presenters registration deadline
- Friday 18 June
Close of registration
Baroness Gould is a life peer in the House of Lords. She is Chair of the Women’s National Commission and Chair of the Government’s Independent Advisory Group for Sexual Health and HIV, making her one of the top health policy-makers in the country. She is also President of FPA; Patron of FORWARD - an organisation that campaigns against female genital mutilation; and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Choice and Sexual Health Group. Baroness Gould is an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. She is also President of the Mary MacArthur Holiday Trust – a charity providing holidays for women in need; and President of Straight Talking, an organisation that raises young people’s awareness of the problems associated with teenage parenthood with the aim of reducing the high rates of teenage pregnancy. She is a regular speaker on women’s matters both in the House of Lords and nationally. For the past four years, for Women’s Day, she has organised full debates in the chamber of the House of Lords to draw public and parliamentary attention to issues affecting women. Baroness Gould also hosted the Launch of the Over Not Out Report at the House of Lords on 12th May 2009.
Michael Bell is the Practice Director of MBARC (Michael Bell Associates Research and Consultancy) which under took the research for the Over Not Out Report.
S. Chelvan was called to the Bar in 1999 and is a tenant at the leading human rights chambers, Mitre House. He has a public law practice with particular emphasis on immigration and asylum law. Chelvan is profiled in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners law directories as a leading junior in immigration law. He has a particular expertise in cases involving sexual and gender identity having been instructed in a number of high profile cases which have sought to develop the law in this area. In December 2008, Chelvan’s work relating to LGBT asylum law was recognised by his being shortlisted in the Legal Aid Barrister category at the Legal Aid Lawyers’ Awards 2008. He acts as a trainer or legal consultant to a variety of organisations including the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (Taylor House), the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, Stonewall and ILGA-Europe. Chelvan is additionally enrolled on the part-time M/DPhil in Law programme at King’s College London, where he is researching and writing a thesis on the legal approach to LGBT asylum claims. He lives in London with his husband Mark.
Professor Davina Cooper
Professor Cooper is a leading academic in the field of sexuality and feminism. She was, until recently, director of the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality at the University of Kent and has held posts at Keele and Warwick University. She was a councillor for the London Borough of Haringey in the 1980s where she played an active part in developing lesbian and gay equality policies and has carried out research on lesbian and gay municipal policies.
Her publications include Intersectionality and Beyond: Law, Power and the Politics of Location, 2008, (co-editor); Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference, 2004; and Power in Struggle, Feminism, Sexuality and the State 1995 Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State 1994. She is currently engaged in a theoretical and empirical project exploring "everyday utopias" - spaces and sites of exchange, schooling, sex, religion, politics and speech which seek to enact alternative ways of living and is also engaged in a project on national equality governance.
Charlotte Keeble is the Research and Consultancy Manager at Refugee Support (The refugee services arm of Metropolitan Support Trust). Charlotte commissioned the research for the Over Not Out Report which forms the background to this conference.
Hong Tan is London's first Sexual Health Programme Director working on behalf of all 31 Primary Care Trusts. He leads London's strategic planning of Sexual Health services and chairs the commissioning group for London HIV Prevention Programmes and the London Sexual Health Commissioning Network. He led development of the London Sexual Health Promotion Framework and London Contraception Plan. Hong is passionate about Sexual Health and has over 15 years experience in commissioning of health and social care in health, local authority and voluntary sector. This includes being lead commissioner for the London HIV consortium where he co-ordinated the development of London's HIV strategy and Patient and Public Health strategy for specialised services. He is a member of the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV
Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights and LGBT liberation for over 40 years. He is a member of the queer rights group OutRage! and is the Green Party’s human rights spokesperson.
Call for Papers 001