Speech for demonstration ‘Living space, not empty houses!’ 12.12.2015 in Kassel
The reasons that force people to leave their home country are as diverse and varied as the experiences that those people will make during their escape. Our main concern is to show our solidarity with all refugees, regardless of whether the reasons for their escape are due to economic neglect, political persecution or the advance of terrorist regimes.
This speech however particularly aims at highlighting the precarious situation of LGBT*IQ refugees, namely lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, inter and queer people; in short everyone whose sexuality and/or gender identity does not fit within the heteronormative framework of two distinct genders and sexual orientations. In the following we will address those people as Queers.
Todays demonstation is a response to the inabillity of politicians so far to provide refugees with adequate shelter; a situation that has been emphasized by years of political neglect in the housing sector that led to overpriced rents and shortage of housing. Furthermore, the political idea of discouraging people from seeking refuge in Europe by putting refugees in the most demanding, uncomfortable positions increases their precarious living conditions. Instead of being accommodated with suitable living spaces, refugees are forced to stay in crowded, uncentralised refugee camps which lack any opportunity for privacy or self-determined life-styles. It is a political practise that has been criticised by many organisations, such as ProAsyl.
Those who are particularly affected by the strains of inadequate shelter are women and queers, who have often been subjected to discrimination based on their sexual and/or gender identity in their native country, and are now being forced to submit to a discriminatory procedure for granting the right to asylum. While there are, at least for women, rudimentary precautions to put them in a safe space, queer people have no right to such considerations.
Furthermore, homosexuality for instance is only considered to be a plausible reason for granting the right to asylum if the affected person can first of prove the so-called quality of their homosexuality ,which is assessed by a consultant, and secondly that homosexuality was the actual reason for their persecution. If the so-called quality of homosexuality of the asylum seeking person is not sufficient and the consultant concludes that “a heterosexual life-style” is possible, asylum will not be granted.
To make matters worse, in most cases “proving” ones queerness is near to impossible as a queer life-style would have had to have been kept secret in countries where people face persecution based on their sexual identity.
But the situation of queer refugees who live in refugee camps remains precarious. A list of documented cases of verbal and physical abuse by fellow refugees, voluntary workers and staff members of refugee camps draw a clear picture of the alarming situation of queer refugees.
A recent case from Dresden where homosexual men were subject to fierce homophobic abuse and which was made public by the local CSD-organisation shows how urgent the need for adequate living conditions is. People who identify as Trans or Intersex are even more vulnerable due to the permanent bureaucratic necessary to divide refugees in two distinct gender categories.
These veryspecific problems and issues that relate to the situation of queer refugees should have been sufficiantly sketched out through the aforementioned examples. Many of those who seek refuge in Germany, come here hoping to find a safe and egalitarian surrounding that enables them to live out their sexual and/or gender identity. This is a hope which is often put an end to as soon as they move into refugee camps, where they are subjected to abuse. We appeal to politicians, voluntary workers and staff members alike, to raise awareness of this situation concerning queer refugees instead of trivialising it.
Hence we demand decentralised accommodation for all refugees and the consideration of the particular needs of queer people. Furthermore we claim sufficiant social, psychological, medical and juridical support that takes individual language skills into account. Last but not least, we urge politicians to change the current asylum law and asylum procedures that perpetuate torture, fear and death.