Allies of LGBTQ+ Refugees in the UK: Advocacy of NGO Regional Networks of care
Authors: Pullen, C.
Conference: 6th EGSC
Dates: 14-16 September 2022Abstract:
This paper considers the advocacy of collective actors working for diverse regional NGOs concerned for the care of LGBTQ+ refugees, following the findings of a British Academy funded research project entitled ‘Understanding LGBTQ Refugees' and Asylum Seekers' Support Needs through Listening to Autobiographical Storytelling’ (Pullen 2021). Exploring the embodiment of participants working at diverse NGO help groups across the UK, including LGBT help groups, mental healthcare charities, those with religious affiliations and those concerned for sexual health and HIV, the advocacy of individuals often working alone or in isolation, is a central focus of attention. Following Prakash and Gugerty (2010) the author considers that ‘existing literature tends to focus on harmony within networks based on the implicit assumption that common normative goals tend to dominate over the interests of individual organisations’ (p. 4), potentially ignoring the embodiment of individuals who as advocacy actors work collectively to promulgate change. This paper, hence, frames the emergence of diverse voices within the NGO community where collective actors are working on policy changes, demonstrated through personal initiatives within their own regional communities. Foregrounding evidence from workshops and interviews, this paper frames initiatives from staff, such as mentoring other staff on best practice in serving LGBTQ+ refugees and teaching LGBTQ+ refugees the precarity of using multiple online identities, besides NGO staff personal investments during the Covid-19 lockdown, such as using personal funds to pay for the urgent needs of LGBTQ+ refugees, having no access to support. This paper suggests that advocacy actors work both independently and collectively across regional domains, in demonstrating their commitment to advocate national policy change. Their embodiment is hence both fragmented, yet coherent, appearing as role models in the evidence they present within their NGO networks, and more widely to the policy making community.