Queer Sisterhood: Building Community for & with Queer Refugee Women

Description

When my partner and I came to Australia seeking protection 5 years ago, we were excluded from all communities (ethnic, refugee or queer) because of the existing homophobia, racism, sexism as well as the lack of understanding of specific challenges that LGBTIQ refugees face. Needs like having inclusive services, understanding of sexuality in connection with asylum and trauma, peer support, have not been met until now. Having identified these gaps, we could not stand by but wanted to make a change. Currently, as a part of my PhD research I am working with 10 queer refugee women. My primary goal is to create a community where women like myself belong and have peer support from other women who understand their experiences. Currently, I am one of the first people in Australia to have a peer led group for queer refugee women. Many women are not connected to refugee community because of the existing homophobia. Neither they are connected to queer community for different reasons. For some, it is the survival shame and guilt, for some, it is being (not) able to come out after a long-life oppression and silencing. Yet these women are strong and resilient who need a community to belong. In this presentation we will be sharing a journey of working with queer refugee women and building our own community. we will be presenting on the existing gaps in services, representation and advocacy, as well offering solution for more inclusive communities. We will be critically reflecting on how intersectional identities both empower and restrain.

Presenters

Tina Dixson | tina.n.dixson@gmail.com

Tina Dixson has worked in the areas of LGBTIQ, refugee and women‰Ûªs rights. She has an extensive experience working with the UN bodies on issues affecting both LBTQ women and refugee women. Currently, Tina is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Social Justice writing her thesis on the lived experiences of queer refugee women and the founder of Queer Sisterhood Project.

Renee Dixson

Renee Dixson is a founder of the first in the region LGBTIQ organisation in her country of origin. Currently, Renee is a multi-disciplinary artist interested to explore how art can bring social change and heal trauma. One of her recent projects is a social art exhibition Stories about Hope. Renee is a co-founder of the Queer Sisterhood Project.