Better supporting LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in Wales
23 August 2021
The recent Welsh Government’s LGBTQ+ Action Plan includes recommendations on improving support and outcomes for LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in Wales which was informed by the research of PhD student Rania Vamvaka.
The LGBTQ+ Action Plan is an ambitious plan on how to make Wales a safe and welcoming home to all LGBTQ+ people, tackling key issues including well-being and homelessness. It is the first time that LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers have been included in a policy report of this size in Wales.
Rania’s research focuses on queer asylum policy and how such policies shape the experiences of LGBTQ+ forced migrants around community, belonging and activism.
Rania was approached by the Welsh Government last year to join the expert panel as a result of her ongoing research into the experiences of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and refugees and her activism that centres queer forced migrants.
Rania worked with Stonewall Cymru, Pride Cymru, NHS Wales, Trans Aid Cymru, Fast Track Cities and other partner organisations that contributed years of experience and insight on LGBTQ+ issues such as HIV prevention and trans rights.
As a result of Rania’s research and expert advice, the LGBTQ+ Action Plan includes recommendations that the Welsh Government should call on the UK Government to improve the ways in which LGBTQ+ asylum seekers can be identified as such in order to receive the most appropriate support in relation to safe housing, access to appropriate well-being services and meaningful community inclusion.
Following her work on the LGBTQ+ Action Plan, and as co-founder of Glitter Cymru, Rania was recently included on the Pinc List 2021, a list of Wales’ most influential LGBTQ+ people.
Speaking of her work on the expert panel, Rania said: “Being involved in the conceptualisation and creation of such an important part of Welsh LGBTQ+ policy history is a dream come true. As a queer woman of colour, an LGBTQ+ activist, and an early career migration academic, I feel seen, heard, and accepted in Wales.
“During my time at the School of Social Sciences, I have always tried to amplify marginalised voices, highlight issues around intersectionality, and provide sustainable solutions to diversity and inclusivity challenges. In academia we talk a lot about impact; what impact looks like and how we achieve it. But when you wear two hats like I do, research and impact are intertwined.
“I am grateful to Jane Hutt MS and Hannah Blythyn MS who have listened and have taken my research and calls to action seriously. I hope that the people of Wales who will respond to the public consultation will realise that my recommendations are realistic, as they are based on making use of the full extent of the Welsh devolved powers. We all need to come together in order to make Wales a safe home for everyone.”