It’s believed as many as 50,000 LGBTI refugees will arrive in Germany by the end of this year.
Despite coming from countries where they can be imprisoned and killed for being gay, they are not classed as vulnerable when they arrive (unlike women, handicapped people and children).
The result, recently coming to light, is intolerance and violence within some refugee centres.
An advocacy group in Germany, Rainbow Refugees, says housing LGBTI people with other refugees has led to verbal and physical abuse in its centers.
‘LGBT refugees often live together in refugee housing facilities with exactly the people they are attempting to flee. These are their countrymen, who might despise LGBT people and even become violent against them,’ it said.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Rami Ktifan from Syria (now staying in Dresden, Germany) said at night a man placed paper between his toes and attempted to light them. Another man said he was intimidated into walking away with a man to have sex with him – but managed to flee.
According to the Washington Post, the capital is placing posters from a 2009 equality campaign – Love Deserves Respect (‘Liebe verdient Respekt’) – in the refugee centres in the hope of encouraging tolerance.
Berlin officials are now seeking to open an LGBTI-only refugee center. Rainbow Refugees, meanwhile, have launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for alternative housing, counselling and contact points for LGBTI refugees.