The Guardian today has a great article about the release of Chelsea Manning and her survival in gaol as a transgender woman. Chelsea, like so many of the transgender community, faced prejudice and abuse whilst in prison and one can only imagine the daily challenge it must have been to simply survive. This drew my attention to our Epsilon project. Epsilon is a project which is focused on identifying the challenges faced by LGBTIQA refugees when trying to integrate in their adopted country or when seeking asylum. Often LGBTIQA refugees face rejection from their fellow refugees because their gender does not conform with gender social expectations. However they also face rejection from the LGBTIQA community in their new home because they are refugees. Caught somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea, there is no one to talk to and such a small community that finding peers becomes a real challenge.
This project is being delivered in 5 EU states and is being delivered in partnership by: IARS in the UK, ANZIANI E NON SOLO SC in Italy, KENTRO MERIMNAS OIKOGENEIAS KAI PAIDIOU (KMOP) in Greece, Movisie - Kennis En Advies Voor Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling (MOVISIE) in the Netherlands and CENTRE FOR ADVANCEMENT OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY LTD-CARDET (CARDET) in Cypress.
In particular, EpsiLon will focus on sharing, developing and transferring innovative practices in education targeting professionals and volunteers working in services for LGBTIQA asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. It will develop a innovative, evidence-based, user-led educational tools in order to raise adult learners' awareness and sensitivity to the needs of all those with LGBTIQA background. The educational tools will enable the professionals and volunteers to identify these LGBTIQA groups' most current and urgent needs some even reaching on issues of survival, dignity and respect. It will also help them challenge their own biases and improve their skills in providing tailored and culturally sensitive services. The need for the development of such training programme is highlighted at top level by all competent organisations such as UNHCR and the EP.