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Final Conference

The SOGICA final conference took place over three days – 7-9 July 2020 – online and the SOGICA team would like to thank everyone who was involved in making it such a success.

The conference consisted of 26 sessions (including 2 workshops, a performance and a screening) and 3 keynote addresses, more than 80 speakers and panellists, and just over 600 attendees. Speakers and participants were from many different countries and included researchers, activists, practitioners and policy makers.

If you have any questions about the conference or the SOGICA project, please feel free to contact us at info@sogica.org.

Final conference programme

Conference abstracts

Biographies of contributors


Videos of conference sessions

Below are links to video recordings of the conference presentations and key-note speeches. We have also included links to some Powerpoint presentations and papers by individual presenters who have been kind enough to share them. For confidentiality reasons, we have not included video footage of Q&A sessions and some presentations and workshops have also been omitted at the request of contributors.


Day 1: Tuesday 7 July

Introduction by Prof Nuno Ferreira, SOGICA project

Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla (with live-streaming on Facebook)


Keynote speech by Katrin Hugendubel, ILGA-Europe

Chair: Nina Held/ Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla (with live-streaming on Facebook)


Session 1 – International

Chair: Carmelo Danisi / Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla


Session 2 – Determination I

Chair: Chiara Scissa/ Facilitator: Magdalena Müssig


Session 3 – Identities I

Chair: Giorgio dell’Amico / Facilitator: Alba Trabandt


Session 4 – Europe

Chair: Denise Venturi / Facilitator: Magdalena Müssig

  • How are SOGI related asylum claims legally adjudicated at domestic, EU and Council of Europe levels? – Edward Mutebi
  • The protection of LGBTIQ asylum seekers: the evolution of the Jurisprudence of the two European Courts and the assessment of credibility – Gerardo Petrillo
  • LGBTIQ+ refugees and social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic in Germany – Dr Nina Held and Dr Mengia Tschalaer


Session 5 – Determination II

Chair: Nicholas Hersh/ Facilitator: Martin Guerin Kanouo Siegning


Workshop 1 [no recording available]

Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla

The Experience of Simultaneity in Context of SOGI, Asylum and Society – Katja Schroder and Marlen Vahle


Session 6 – Credibility I

Chair: Barry O’Leary/ Facilitator: Esra Demirkol Colosio


Session 7 – Identities II

Chair: Moira Dustin / Facilitator: Rose Gordon-Orr


Day 2: Wednesday 8 July

Keynote speech by Professor Emeritus Vitit Muntarbhorn of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; KBE; formerly UN Special Rapporteur, UN Independent Expert and member of UN Commissions of Inquiry on Human Rights (Powerpoint also available)

Chair: Carmelo Danisi/ Facilitator: Nuno Ferreira (with live-streaming on Facebook)


Session 8 – Methods

Chair: Haris Eloy / Facilitator: Rose Gordon-Orr

  • New approaches to study SOGI asylum claimants and refugees – Vitor Lopes Andrade
  • A Digital Archive of LGBTIQ Oral Histories about Forced Migration – Renee Dixson
  • Voice through the visual: exploring LGBT+ asylum seekers’ narratives through photovoice – Paschal Gumadwong Bagonza


Session 9 – Credibility II

Chair: Mengia Tschalaer / Facilitator: Marie Pritchard

  • Pride or Shame? LGBTI asylum in The Netherlands – Sabine Jansen
  • The Emotional Journey and the DSSH model: a positive tool for credibility assessment – Dr S Chelvan
  • Credibility assessment in asylum claims based on SO by the Greek Asylum Service – Sophia Zisakou


Session 10 – Support I

Chair: Ernesto Fiocchetto / Facilitator: Esra Demirkol Colosio

  • Multiple Precarities: Reflections from SOGI Refugees applications to a Civil Society Protection Project in Turkey – Jade Cemre Erciyes and Ilksen Gürsoy
  • Innovative and Intersectional Practices for Young LGBTQI Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Sweden: The experience of two projects of RFSL Ungdom – Fernando Damazio dos Santos, Haris Eloy and Alexandra Politidis Palm


Session 11 – Reception

Chair: Sofia D’Arcio / Facilitator: Carmelo Danisi

  • Identità in TransiTO. Reception and support for migrants and asylum seekers Trans – Letizia De-Coll’ and Luca Falzea
  • LGBTI+ migrants stranded in the Italian reception system – Rafael Pascoal
  • If you leave, the blame’s on you? A human rights-based perspective on LGBTIQ asylum seekers’ entitlement to protection from violence in accommodation centres – Dr Petra Sussner


Session 12 – Country of Origin Information (COI)

Chair: Alexandra Politidis Palm/ Facilitator: Melody Greaves

  • The importance of source assessment: Comparative analysis of the U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practice – Stephanie Huber
  • Researching SOGI issues in the context of COI: example Iraq – Gabriele Roth
  • The role of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and COI – Adriana Van Den Berg


Session 13 – Agency I [not all presentations available]

Chair: Vitor Lopes Andrade/ Facilitator: Martin Guerin Kanouo Siegning

  • Cultural implications and social challenges in the support and assessment of asylum seekers in Italy – Dany Carnassale
  • Queer asylum seekers in Paris: negotiating (non-) belonging in urban spaces – Florent Chossière
  • Austrian Asylum Politics: Queer Asylum and Intersectional Mobilization in Times of Hypernormalization of Far Right Politics, Greenwashing & Homonationalism in Austria – Mag Mach


‘This Is Who I Am’ [no recording available]

Chair: Sebastian Aguirre/ Facilitator: Moira Dustin

Ice and Fire UK performance followed by panel discussion with Elceta Marsha Ennis, Stephina Gwetsa, Mazen Masoud, and Charity Matiya.


Day 3: Thursday 9 July

Session 14 – Activism

Chair: Fernando Damazio dos Santos / Facilitator: Alba Trabandt

  • The Right to Legal Assistance for LGBTIQ* Asylum Seekers in Germany & the Role of Volunteer Initiatives such as the Queer Refugee Law Clinic Berlin – Tina-Maleen Bölle
  • Queer Sisterhood Project: the value of refugee-led support and advocacy – Renee Dixson and Tina Dixson
  • LGBTQI+ asylum advocacy under “friendly” and “hostile” governments: lessons from the USA – Dr Siobhan McGuirk


Session 15 – Agency II

Chair: Jade Cemre Erciyes / Facilitator: Rose Gordon-Orr


Session 16 – Micro Rainbow panel

Chair: Anbid Zamen / Facilitator: Esra Demirkol Colosio

A holistic approach to integration of LGBTI refugees – Alana Eissa, Lara Goodwin and Barry O’Leary


Session 17 – Discretion

Chair: Leila Zadeh / Facilitator: Moira Dustin

  • Developments in the last decade – Bojana Asanovic
  • Why Heteronormativity Matters: The not so lost Requirement of Discretion in (Austrian) Asylum Law – Dr Petra Sussner
  • The Concealment Controversy. Sexual orientation, discretion reasoning and the scope of refugee protection – Dr Janna Wessels


Session 18 – Support II

Chair: Siobhan McGuirk / Facilitator: Martin Guerin Kanouo Siegning


Session 19 – Religion

Chair: Vitor Lopes Andrade / Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla

  • Religion and NGO support in the UK – Dr Moira Dustin
  • The role of religion for identity and integration of LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees in Germany – Ernesto Fiocchetto
  • Religious experiences during asylum seeking in the UK and its reflection within legal decision making – Claire Fletcher


Session 20 – Credibility III. Similar stereotypical constructions of sexual orientation in different European countries

Chair: Petra Sussner / Facilitator: Alba Trabandt

  • The UK: Excessive focus on articulation of ‘self-realisation’ and development of identity – Leila Zadeh
  • The Netherlands: Assumptions of an emotional process of awareness, from shame to self-acceptance – Sabine Jansen
  • Norway: Expectations of ‘self-actualisation’ and detailed reflections on one’s sexual orientation – Andrea Gustafsson Grønningsæter
  • Sweden: Criteria in the Swedish credibility assessments of SOGIE asylum claims – Aino Gröndahl


Workshop 2 [no recording available]

Facilitator: Marie Pritchard

  • Working WITH LGBTIQ refugees and migrants, not on/above/about us! – Masha Beketova


SOGICA videos – screening and discussion

Chair: Nina Held / Facilitator: Nuno Ferreira

Screening followed by panel discussion with Mazen Masoud, Jayne Rowlands, and Anbid Zaman


Session 21 – Origins

Chair: Jade Cemre Erciyes / Facilitator: Nuno Ferreira


Session 22 – Support III

Chair: Moira Dustin / Facilitator: Nina Held


Keynote speech by Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Chair: Nuno Ferreira / Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla (with live-streaming on Facebook)


Concluding comments – Prof Nuno Ferreira

Facilitator: Mohammad Dalla (with live-streaming on Facebook)


Further information

The SOGICA project final conference took place from 7-9 July 2020 and was an opportunity to:

  • present the SOGICA project findings and recommendations;
  • give a platform to academics, policy makers, practitioners, activists and refugees addressing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) asylum in innovative ways;
  • foster interdisciplinary, cross-sector and international engagement between individuals with an interest in this topic, including those most directly involved as asylum claimants in European countries.

The SOGICA project team invited a wide range of participants, including asylum claimants and refugees, academics, policy makers, practitioners, activists, and anyone with an interest in sexual orientation and gender identity asylum.


About the project

SOGICA – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Claims of Asylum: A European human rights challenge’ was a four-year project (2016-2020) funded by the European Research Council (ERC). Based in the School of Law at the University of Sussex, it set to produce the necessary evidence base for a more just and humane asylum process for individuals seeking refuge in Europe on the basis of their SOGI.

To this end, since 2016, the project has studied the social and legal experiences of SOGI asylum claimants across Europe, by exploring the European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) frameworks and by focusing on Germany, Italy and the UK as case studies. During this time, SOGICA carried out more than 150 interviews and focus group discussions with asylum claimants, refugees, decision-makers, practitioners, and experts in the field, and conducted observations of hearings of SOGI claimants in courts and tribunals. The team produced a number of publications on different aspects of SOGI asylum (such as credibility, persecution, discretion, domestic and European adjudication of these claims) and made presentations at conferences and seminars across Europe. A database of materialswebsite of resources and network of more than 1,000 friends and allies beyond academia, was established. The SOGICA formally ended in 2020 with a monograph and further peer-reviewed articles pending publication, all of which are intended to inform fairer SOGI asylum processes in Europe and greater sensitivity and humanity for SOGI minorities outside the legal process.