OUR MESSAGE 2017: NO FEAR TO BE YOU
There are now more people fleeing from war, civil unrest, persecution, torture, and other life-threatening situations than at any other time since World War II. In Europe, a fierce debate has broken out over how to deal with people fleeing. Emotions run high in the discussion, and positions have become entrenched. What is less discussed, however, is that people are also fleeing because they are persecuted or in danger because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity!
There are also many people in Switzerland who have fled their homeland because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Here in Switzerland, these people are facing a wide range of problems – even with the asylum procedures. Many feel deep shame in discussing their sexual orientation or gender identity as well as the (sexual) violence they have experienced, especially if the interpreter comes from the same culture or country. They initially conceal the true reason for seeking asylum and can often only talk about it when it is too late for the asylum procedure from the perspective of the authorities. In refugee centres, these people are also often isolated and live in constant fear that people will find out their sexual orientation or gender identity. For trans people, even using the toilets and showers can be dangerous, so they avoid it – with corresponding health consequences. If trans people require medical gender reassignment, they usually do not gain access to this treatment or only with great delay.
For LGBT refugees, it is very difficult to meet people in the Swiss community. This is because most of them do not have the money to participate in community events or even get to them. On top of that, they are confronted with violence and hate speech – sometimes even from the LGBT community itself.
Although is undisputed that in many countries, people are threatened, persecuted, and ostracised because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, Swiss asylum law does not explicitly recognise any reason for fleeing based on sexual orientation or gender identity. While the asylum law make reference to reasons for fleeing that are specific to women, there is no such reference in relation to LGBT people. As a result, it is difficult for LGBT asylum seekers to obtain protection in Switzerland. Asylum applications are rejected time and again with outrageous reasons such as that „They must simply behave discreetly in their own country“ or that even though homosexuality is a punishable offence in a particular country, LGBT people have nothing to fear there.
Zurich Pride clearly urges that:
people who flee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity be recognised as refugees in Switzerland.
the specific situation of LGBT asylum seekers be taken into consideration (e.g. interviews must be carried out by trained personnel who have the necessary sensitivity – this also applies to interpreters).
no asylum application be rejected on the grounds that the person could behave discreetly in his or her home country.
if homosexual acts are a punishable offence in a particular country, this is a sufficient reason for fleeing – regardless of how often the penalties are actually imposed.
LGBT asylum seekers be housed outside the asylum centres/group accommodation in accommodation that is safe for them; partners are not to be separated.
the authorities inform LGBT asylum seekers about counselling centres and contact points for LGBT refugees so that they can access them more easily.
we will not tolerate any xenophobia, racism, and fetishism of ethnic origin or any other forms of violence and discrimination against refugees at Pride.