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Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum

A European Human Rights Challenge

About the SOGICA Project

SOGICA is a research project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) that explores the social and legal experiences of asylum seekers across Europe claiming international protection on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). SOGI-related human rights violations are the basis of an apparently increasing number of asylum claims in Europe. Previous research and empirical evidence, while not comprehensive, suggests that these claims are often treated in an insensitive, inappropriate or inconsistent manner across Europe and also within individual states. These claims are also of a striking complexity, and have significance for the purposes of assessing the efficiency and fairness of asylum adjudication systems in general. Focusing on Germany, Italy and the UK as case studies, and analysing how SOGI related claims are addressed at European level – covering the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) – the project seeks to determine how European asylum systems can treat asylum claims based on the claimant’s SOGI more fairly.    

A message about the SOGICA surveys

The two online SOGICA surveys – one for LGBTQI+ people claiming asylum and one for people working with them – have now closed. We had a big response and are now analysing all the answers we received alongside our other fieldwork data. We will also be notifying the four winners in the survey prize draw by email in April.

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who made time to contribute to the surveys: you have given a significant boost to SOGICA’s evidence base and helped us enormously in our task of identifying critical areas for improvement in SOGI asylum in Europe.

Thank you to all our friends and supporters!

Life Stories

Life Story

Escaping Trans Discrimination: Stories of Trans Women Seeking Asylum in the US

VICE 16/08/2019

For many trans people facing discrimination in home countries, migration to the US represents a chance to redeem their identity. But upon arriving in the US, they often find a dangerous life and threat of detention (by VICE).

Stories from Moscow: How LGBT Couples in Russia Decide Wheth...

Stories from Moscow: How LGBT Couples in Russia Decide Whether to Leave the Country

The New Yorker 09/08/2019

Stories collected by Masha Gessen for The New Yorker.

Christina and Ilios: Stories from Greece

Mariza Avgeri 02/08/2019

Christina and Ilios, who have fled from Iraq and Syria, interview each other on the difficulties of being a LGBTIQ+ asylum claimant in Greece.

Stand with Joana!

Stand with Joana!

Oram International 26/07/2019

This is the story, reported by ORAM (3 June 2019), of Joana* a...

LGBT asylum seekers face double isolation: Reflections of a ...

LGBT asylum seekers face double isolation: Reflections of a gay claimant

Irish Examiner 20/07/2019

Evgeny Shtorn, a civil society activist and researcher that wa...

A Matter of Life or Death: LGBTQ+ Refugees

Tyler Oakley 12/07/2019

Tyler Oakley met two resilient members of the LGBTQ+ community, Shadi (from Syria) and Sharifa (from Uganda) who went to incredible lengths to flee their home countries to avoid persecution.

Kens story: When my asylum application was denied, I felt co...

Ken’s story: ‘When my asylum application was denied, I felt cold and hopeless, as though my life were over’

Inews 28/06/2019

Gay rugby player Ken M. has been living in the UK for 10 years...

Sicilian volunteers help African LGBTI migrants hit by new I...

Sicilian volunteers help African LGBTI migrants hit by new Italian Law

The New Humanitarian 20/06/2019

For the World Refugee Day '19, we would like to pay tribute to...

Zuheir's story: 'I had to leave Lebanon after I came out as ...

Zuheir's story: 'I had to leave Lebanon after I came out as gay and HIV positive on TV'

Gay Star News 07/06/2019

The project Stonewall 50 Voices series, which celebrates the d...

Mohammed's story: death threats, an unwanted marriage, homel...

Mohammed's story: death threats, an unwanted marriage, homelessness and depression but now free

Peter Tatchell Foundation 24/05/2019

Mohammed was studying in the UK when was pressured into a hete...