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This language school is a safe haven for LGBTI refugees from Syria and Iran

This language school is a safe haven for LGBTI refugees from Syria and Iran

LSVD are leading on this safe haven

The world is reeling after President Donald Trump signed into motion a ban on refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

These Muslim-majority countries are just the first on his list for a likely broader ban.

It has already seen devastating effects with a gay Iranian who had a green card, who went on a gay cruise, came back to the United States to be detained.

But while in the US isolationism and a ban on refugees is having a terrifying effect, there is one place in the world that is making an effort to shelter LGBTI refugees from harm.

Lesbian and Gay Union Berlin have launched language courses for asylum seekers, in an effort being supported by the EU’s European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

‘Many of these people have suffered extreme hatred in their home countries,’ Caroline Winkler, a social worker who is leading the group, told QueerSpiegel.

‘They also experience bullying outside their homes.’

The classes allow LGBTI migrants to be themselves and to learn to live in Germany without problems. Students include a 22-year-old trans woman from Syria who had no knowledge of the German language before she turned up to the classes.

‘We can hand out our flyers in refugee accommodations and reach our target group in concrete terms,’ Semiramis Ceylan-Ahlborn added.

‘Many would not know that there is such a course offer. Even though the information policy is part of the problem.

They added: ‘Here they can be themselves. For trans- and homosexual refugees, it is sometimes risky to take a flyer, they might draw attention.

‘And they often hide their sexuality. They think they can live in peace in Germany, and then they realise that it is not true.’