I saw photos of a friend of mine at Brighton Pride this weekend doing the rounds in social media and similar outlets. It was great to see this colourful celebration of life flood the streets of Brighton, especially in the glorious weather we have had recently in the UK. Brighton Pride comes as part of a series of Pride marches, including the London Pride last month which was in the same week as our international conference - which also celebrated LGBT culture and talked about our free online training for LGBT migrants and those who work with them.
The training remains live and can be accessed at: https://elearning.epsilonproject.eu/login/index.php If you want to look at the training, follow the link and register, we would love to know what you think and are welcoming your feedback upto the end of August. Do register and see what we have included. We're proud of the work we have done on this training and it is clear from the evaluation we have done of the project that it is making a big impact in the communities it is aimed at.
The Epsilon project is responding to two current and urgent educational needs in Europe i.e.
(1) the rise in migrant and refugee numbers
(2) the persistent inequality and persecution of Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans-gender groups (LGBT).
Combined together these two characteristics makes LGBT migrant and refugees one of the most vulnerable groups in modern Europe. Our project aims to help address this issue by increasing the knowledge, skills and awareness of all those adult professionals who come in contact with them. In particular, EpsiLon has focused on sharing, developing and transferring innovative practices in education by targeting professionals and volunteers working in services for LGBT asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. It has developed a innovative, evidence-based, user-led educational toolkit that can be used to raise adult learners’ awareness and sensitivity to the needs of all those with LGBT background. The educational tools enable professionals and volunteers to identify these LGBT groups’ most current and urgent needs some even reaching on issues of survival, dignity and respect. It has also helped them challenge their own biases and improve their skills in providing tailored and culturally sensitive services.
Throughout the project we have been supported by our friends at SOGICA. SOGICA is a four-year research project to determine how European asylum systems can treat claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity more fairly. Today SOGICA is launching an online survey and they are inviting people to contribute to their research by completing it.
The SOGICA team wants their research to involve and be informed by people with direct experience of the questions they are asking. As one way to make sure that happens, they are carrying out this survey and inviting people claiming asylum because of sexual orientation or gender identity, LGBTQI+ people claiming asylum, and anyone who works with LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum to complete it before March 2019 when the survey closes.
The survey is divided into two – one for people claiming or who have claimed asylum, and one for people who work with them or support them. A lot of people do both of course, and many LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum also work with organisations providing services, advice or campaigning, so please complete whichever one you prefer (or both from different perspectives if you wish).
Both the Epsilon and SOGICA projects are making a big difference to the lives of LGBT people in the UK and across Europe.