RFSL Newcomers is a network for and with asylum seekers, undocumented immigrants and newly arrived LGBTQ people in Sweden. Our members come from all parts of the world and have often fled persecution in their native country because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Above is a movie where RFSL’s asylum lawyers, among others, give some advice on what to think about when you want to seek asylum as an LGBTIQ person.
Newcomers was created as a reaction to a need for activities, support and guidance as many newly arrived LGBTQ individuals feel that they neither get support nor information about their rights upon their arrival in Sweden. Today, Newcomers is a support group as well as a social meeting space. We organize regular members’ meetings with activities, information and counselling. There are Newcomers units at RFSL’s branches in many cities around Sweden with varying possibilities of support.
Our goal is to strengthen our members’ identities and voices by creating meeting spaces where they can share experiences, make contacts and meet friends.
With Newcomers we want to offer a safe meeting space and a platform where our members can meet, claim their space and be heard. During our weekly activities we talk about Swedish society and hold Swedish lessons. We also share information about practical issues. We arrange everything from swimming lessons to study visits and sometimes we make trips to Pride- and LGBTQ festivals, or give tips about other happenings and social gatherings. Newcomers also assists with legal counselling in asylum cases.
Newcomers is a politically independent network within RFSL that works with opinion forming and strive to influence legal and political decisions that affect asylum seeking LGBTQ people. We do this through spreading information about the current political and legal situation for asylum seeking LGBTQ individuals in Sweden. We also strive to increase the knowledge about the problems, in the form of oppression, uncertainty and legal and social vulnerability, that asylum seeking LGBTQ people can face.
RFSL participates in different asylum-political contexts and works actively to create more cooperations with other national and international actors that work with asylum and/or LGBTQ issues.