Journey Asylum Seekers Group offers social space, emotional and practical support to LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees. The Journey group meets together monthly on a Tuesday afternoon in Birmingham City Centre, and offers connection via Zoom and WhatsApp as well. To find out more about how to connect or to offer practical or financial support to the group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
LGBTQ+ people often face extra challenges in navigating the asylum system. They may fear seeking support from people of their own ethnic or national background due to traditional ideas and beliefs about sexuality, so they can become isolated. It can be extremely difficult for them to express their situation to officials when under stress, facing a language barrier and having to speak about things which they may never have voiced out loud before.
The volunteers, although not legally qualified have built up a wealth of knowledge which enables them to assist people navigating through the complex system of claiming asylum. And often we find the people best able to help those new to it all are people who’ve been through it themselves. We can help with small practicalities like form filling, telephone calls and help with bus fares to get to appointments. We can also sometimes attend court to give evidence in support of a person’s claim, or just to be a friendly presence.
Each year, the group marches together in the Birmingham Pride parade. For many this will be their first experience of Pride event and it’s often a major milestone for folk who are still getting used to living in relative safety. We carry banners and flags representing all the places people have come from, where they’re still unable to celebrate Pride openly.
Inclusive Gathering Birmingham is happy to help subsidise travel costs for any member of the Journey Group who would like to attend any of our Sunday gatherings. This can be arranged via Phil, the coordinator of the Journey Group.