Queer Refugees: Building the Bridges and Bridging the Gaps

Queer Refugees: Building the Bridges and Bridging the Gaps

Sunday

February 25th 2018

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Carriageworks

245 Wilson Street

Eveleigh NSW 2015

Australia

Wheelchair Accessible
Auslan Interpreted Performances

Moderated by Tina Dixson, with panelists Roj Amedi, Kathryn Clark, Randa Kattan, and Renee Dixson.

With many countries in the world criminalising homosexuality, LGBTIQ people around the world are forced to flee for their lives. The 1951 Refugee Convention enables them to seek asylum when they are facing persecution on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, international protection mechanisms do not guarantee an easy pathway to safety. 

In Australia LGBTIQ people from refugee backgrounds are almost absent from the overall refugee debate. Whenever the topic of LGBTIQ refugees comes up, it mostly deals with the barriers people face during interviews with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Rarely, however, do we hear what happens after the protection visa is granted. Where are LGBTIQ people who sought asylum in Australia? Which community do they fit in and belong?

Often LGBTIQ people from refugee background remain invisible and isolated without having a community to belong to. On the one hand, refugee or ethnic community can be homophobic, and on the other, racism and xenophobia can prevent from belonging to the LGBTIQ community. For many LGBTIQ people from refugee backgrounds experience survival guilt and shame to be able to be a part of the LGBTIQ community.

We invite you to explore how can we build the bridges and bridge the gaps for LGBTIQ people who found their safety and new home in Australia.

A ticket to Queer Thinking on February 25 will include this panel and the other two of the day, The ‘Transgressive’ Body: A Fucking Protest, and Activism and Radicalism from the AIDS Crisis to Today.

MODERATOR

Tina Dixson

Tina Dixson has worked in the area of LGBTIQ, refugee and women’s rights both in Australia and overseas. Tina has a solid experience working at the level of United Nations in Geneva, having done the shadow report on the human rights violations of LBT women and undertaken a gender audit of the Global Compact for Refugees in UNHCR. Currently, Tina is a Doctoral Candidate and is working on the Queer Sisterhood Project, a peer run & peer support group for queer refugee women in Australia. 

PANELISTS

Roj Amedi

Roj Amedi is a writer, editor, strategist and human rights advocate. She writes and speaks on a range of issues including politics, art and culture. Her perspective is cross-disciplinary in nature with pieces published by The Saturday Paper, Meanjin, SBS, Swampland, Vault Magazine, Right Now, Assemble Papers and Acclaim Magazine. 

Randa Kattan

Randa Kattan is the CEO of Arab Council Australia and a national social sector executive with 30 years’ experience in key community leadership posts. Over the past 30 years, Randa has been a key public commentator on a number of key issues including divisive political discourse, status of women and inclusion. She has led several organisations and programs within and outside the Arabic community and has worked in areas of settlement, employment, youth, children, women and management.

Randa has served on numerous boards and committees. This includes the Premier’s Council for Women, Premier’s Crime Prevention Council, Anti-Poverty Week. She also sits on the NSW State Library Cultural and Linguistic Advisory Board, the Western Sydney Community Forum Board and is a Jury Member of the Sydney Peace Prize. She was the Founding Chairperson of the Sydney Alliance and in 2014 was named in the Pro Bono Australia’s first Impact 25 List as one of twenty-five most influential people in Australia’s not-for-profit sector.

Kathryn Clark

Kathryn has worked in community development, case management and social research, in both local and international contexts. For the past five years, she has led teams of social workers, working with people seeking protection in Australia. She represented the Centre for Refugee Research at the UNHCR Consultations in Geneva in 2014 and gained a Masters in Development Studies in Refugees and Displacement at UNSW.

Kathryn hopes to share learnings from working with people with gender and sexual diversity whilst seeking protection in Australia. She argues for visibility of the unique biases and barriers faced and for responsible practice across sectors.

Renee Dixson

Renee Dixson is a Master’s student studying Museums and Heritage studies in ANU in Canberra. Prior coming to Australia Renee was the founder of LGBTIQ human rights organisation. In Australia, she has turned to art as a means of making a change, obtaining justice and healing trauma. Renee is using art as a human rights tool. In her practice, she is working with photography and film.

In 2016 Renee produced a social art project ‘Stories about Hope’ that explores concepts of human dignity and strength in stories of people from refugee backgrounds.