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BeLonG To

This is the truth: I don’t think I’d be here right now if it wasn’t for this service. I really wanted to kill myself. I just really wanted to die and get away from this. But then after talking to people from this service, encouraging me and constantly telling me that everything would be ok, and still giving me room to express myself all the time ... They have helped me a lot. I have grown, and I have learned how to accept myself.

Asylum Seeker,

Drop In Service, Belong To

The LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees Project aims to improve the safety and quality of life of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers and refugees. Many LGBT asylum seekers and refugees face isolation and vulnerability on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. BeLonG To's project will support service providers to better understand the situation of LGBT asylum seekers and refugees and the gaps in service provision they encounter. It will also guide service providers on how to work sensitively with this target group. The project primarily focuses on youth and young adults.
The LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees Project carries out a number of activities including:
  • Developing models of best practice for working with the target group in statutory and voluntary services working either with asylum seekers and refugees or with LGBT communities.
  • Delivering training to organisations working with asylum seekers and refugees or with LGBT communities. The training raises awareness of the challenges encountered by LGBT asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland.
  • Providing direct support to young LGBT asylum seekers and refugees through        BeLonG To’s project youth worker.
  • Holding a seminar to share learning about the project.



This project completed in January 2013.


Seeking Sanctuary







Case Study
Our case study tells the story of Maalik, who was a service user of the LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees Project.
In Maalik’s country of origin, being gay means the difference between leading a peaceful life and one that is filled with danger, persecution and a constant fear of being ‘outed’. By the age of 19, Maalik was used to constant verbal and physical harassment. Moreover, he was in a position where reporting this abuse to the authorities could potentially result in greater trauma and abuse. As a result, Maalik came to the decision that he needed to flee and seek asylum in another country.
Maalik arrived in Ireland in late 2010. He made an application for refugee status and moved into a Direct Provision accommodation centre. During this time, Maalik confided in a health worker that he was gay and that he needed the opportunity to talk about his past experiences, his present situation and the trauma he had experienced as an LGBT person in the asylum process. The health worker gave him the details of our LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees Project and arranged a meeting with our project youth worker.
Maalik first attended our project in early 2011. Maalik then attended regular one-to-one support, which gave him the opportunity to work through many of the issues that he had. The support Maalik received gave him the confidence to attend a number of our youth groups, where he felt for the first time that he was accepted for who he was. Young Irish LGBT people attending these groups welcomed him, befriended him and even advocated on his behalf during the time he was in the asylum process. Our ERF project youth worker also advocated on Maalik’s behalf and put him in contact with LGBT friendly services.
In time, Maalik became more involved in BeLonG To by running his own workshops.  He also advised our staff on the situation of LGBT asylum seekers and refugees. In early 2012, Maalik received refugee status and has continued his involvement with us.