LGBT Migrant Key Populations In the Global HIV Response
The session began with a few “Things That Make You Go Hmmmm” when discussing the global HIV response in terms of migration and HIV. Nearly 40% of people diagnosed with HIV in Europe are migrants. Of those, 53% of them come from Sub Saharan Africa. As migrants, they face considerable obstacles to accessing healthcare. With over 1 million people on the move, this creates are challenge for HIV prevention and treatment. Not only are these communities often facing significant challenges due to health or sexuality, but the stigma of being displaced compounds that. Reaching this vulnerable population is a key to helping curb the epidemic. International organizations like UNHCR and Human Rights Watch are beginning to extend resources and exposure geared towards migrant and refugee LGBTs at the urging of local organizations like African Black Global Diaspora Network ABDGN.
One resource developed by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) is the Global Report “Protecting Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities”. This training manual and facilitator guide allows UNHCR to train staff and partner organizations in identifying and addressing the unique needs of LGBTI refugees. It also provides a primer on terminology and appropriate interview techniques when questioning LGBTI persons. The guide and training materials are available online at http://www.unhcrexchange.org/
Rhon Reynolds (pictured) provided a snapshot of the everyday issues an LGBTI faces while living in a hostile environment in the second presentation. His research for Human Rights Watch and the African Black Global Diaspora Network on HIV described the homophobic violence and HIV vulnerability faced by LGBTIs in Jamaica. Finally, Carlos Idibouo of Alpha Gender Omega shared his personal experience of migrating from his community in the Ivory Coast only be marginalized as a gay HIV+ immigrant in Toronto.