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Changemakers 3: Promoting equality for the gay community among refugees

The ‘changemakers’ in this project are those grass roots organisations created by refugees and in a position to guide a change in mentality towards the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Project dates 01/11/2009 - 30/06/2011
Total budget€239 881
EU contribution50%
Name of the entity managing the projectVluchtelingen Organisaties Nederland (VON)

Project Description

The rationale for the project was to develop a new methodology to change ways of thinking towards homosexuality, and to help individual members of the LGBT community who also come from a refugee background to feel stronger. To do this, Vluchtelingen Organisaties Nederland sought support and commitment from refugee organisations within the Netherlands.

The root of homophobia within the refugee community is thought to be the system of norms in which some refugees live, and which form a barrier to social acceptance of homosexuality. The team wanted to take this very sensitive subject and to make it less of a taboo, redefining what is ‘normal’ in the process.

Benefits and results

The project led to genuine change. Refugee organisations dared to take an open and new position on homosexuality. Refugees from risk groups understood that respect for an individual’s sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human rights, and refugees were made aware of the way in which gay people within the refugee community live. As a result, confidence in existing support structures increased among individuals who are part of both the LGBT and refugee communities.

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