About the challenges and problems, the experience of crossing the border, integration and socialization in new conditions and the desire to return to Ukraine — the public organization “Gender Stream” conducted the world’s first study of the situation of LGBTQI+ Ukrainians abroad.
According to the results of the study, the main problems of LGBTQI+ refugees in host countries are related to:
- Searching for affordable and safe housing
- Access to friendly medical care
- A language barrier that prevents access to the labor market or limits opportunities for employment and socialization.
The research was conducted using in-depth offline and online interviews from December 2022 to May 2023. 34 participants who at the time of the study lived in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovakia took part in the survey.
The main researcher was Maryna Shevtsova, candidate of economic sciences, PhD in political science. The study was prepared by the NGO “GENDER STREAM” on the initiative, as well as technical and organizational support of LabLGBTQI_UA and with the financial support of VOICE.
Interview questions covered the following areas:
- Choice of destination country
- Border crossing experience
- Search for housing and work
- Experience of integration and language courses
- Experience working with medical and social services.
Additional attention was paid to socialization, general psychological well-being and connections with local public organizations protecting the rights of LGBTQI+. At the end of the interview, respondents were asked about their future and improvements important for a possible return to Ukraine.
The LGBTQI+ community may experience additional, unique challenges and threats during full-scale war. Studying their experience allows us to identify special needs and problems faced by Ukrainian resettled women and men during relocation and seeking shelter in other countries. In the long run, this will allow for the development of more effective mechanisms for the protection and support of these people in their new places of residence. As a result, it will contribute to the creation of a more empathetic society, reduce stigmatization and discrimination of the LGBTQI community and ensure safety, protection and equal opportunities for its members.