RFSL is a member organisation with a lot of activities and services to our members. At branch level RFSL is an advocacy organisation and a social meeting space with activities such as lectures, cafe nights, pride celebrations and workshops. RFSL Newcomers, for and with LGBTQ asylum seekers, has also gotten a lot of positive attention during the year.
- Over 1000 asylum seekers have been offered safe social activities and support through Newcomers.
- 1 800 000 has been given to five Pride festivals.
- Newcomers operate in 16 locations with a target group of 1000 people yearly.
- A new home page, in Swedish and English, was launched.
- Fem Pride festivals have recieved financing and over 30 festivals have partaken in an experience exchange.
RFSL’s branches are located all over the country. Apart from being important LGBTQ political actors they organize cafe nights, discussion groups, movie nights, manifestations, lectures, Pride festivals and much more. The branches’ work is almost exclusively built on non-profit commitment and member activism.
As a member of RFSL you take a stand for LGBTQ individuals’ rights locally, nationally and internationally. During 2015 RFSL had close to 7000 members, which is the highest number to date.
Marcus Pettersson Tells
Marcus Pettersson, president of RFSL Skaraborg
What is happening in your branch?
We arrange cafe nights for members and youth in the county. We also work with information in schools and adult training and are part of Color of love.
What is most fun about being president?
You get so much back for what you do and learn more and more.
What was most fun in 2015?
The most fun was to deliver an LGBTQ award in Skaraborg. The prize 2015 went to Anna Johansson who started a Pride in Skaraborg. It was a very successful event where over 4000 people participated.
RFSL Newcomers is a network for and with asylum seeking LGBTQ individuals. The network present at 16 locations and its members are from all over the world and have often fled persecution in their native countries because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. RFSL Newcomers organize regular get togethers with activities, information and counseling.
”I am a 47 year old trans girl from Peru. I found Newcomers through a friend and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Newcomers help me to find my way in Sweden, to know my rights and obligations and integrates me better socially into Swedish society. It’s a special place for me where I have found support, answers, help, advice and friends. Newcomers feels like my family.” Paola Raffo Calderón, active within Newcomers.
Aino Gröndahl Tells
Aino Gröndahl, asylum solicitor and public assistant for asylum seeking LGBTQ individuals
Can you describe your work?
I work as an asylum solicitor at RFSL and am a public assistant for asylum seeking LGBTQ individuals. That means that I represent the individual legally during the asylum process. Much of my work is to give legal advice to asylum seekers and migrants.
Besides that I do advocacy work. I have trained the Migration Agency’s LGBTQ specialists, and I have trained judges in the migration courts.
Almost daily I get questions from other solicitors and lawyers asking for help in their LGBTQ cases.
What were the highlights in 2015?
I was legally responsible for about 50 asylum cases.
I have taken on cases where the lawyers haven’t known enough about LGBTQ as a reason for asylum. Two involved children, and I managed to get a new hearing. One received permanent residency and the other one has a good chance of getting a favorable decision.
The feeling of succeeding in difficult cases and getting to tell my client that they have gotten residency cannot be compared. Those are the highlights of my work!
On October 21 RFSL celebrated 65 years of activism, courage and development.
RFSL’s project En Blommande Priderörelse aims at strengthening and developing different kinds of Pride festivals around Sweden.
”En blommande Priderörelse has been very important to har haft avgörande betydelse för Växjö Pride. The support has made it possible for us to have a festival that have reached many people. The network has made us feel like part of a movement where people blossom, no matter where in the country they live.” Magnus Holm, Växjö Pride.