Local LGBTIQ+ community in Bosnia and Herzegovina join forces with LGBTIQ+ asylum-seekers and refugees to create messages for the BiH Pride March 2022
“If your religion prohibits you to support your gay child, may then your child become your religion” was one of many messages created during a joint workshop that gathered members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Bosnia and Herzegovina and asylum-seekers and refugees who are staying in the country. Many of them from Sarajevo, but some that came as far as from the towns of Banja Luka, Bihać and Tuzla, gathered last weekend for a two-day art workshop where they first brainstormed and then made several banners and designs for t-shirts with messages in English and in their native languages that will be used during the upcoming Pride March in Sarajevo in June 2022.
“Family Gathering,” the overarching theme of this year’s Pride March in BiH, inspired asylum-seekers and refugees to come up with messages that celebrate family union and the need for parents to accept their children regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We come from different countries, but we have one goal – to be accepted, and we are here at the workshop like one family,” said one of the participants, whose message was captured in one of the banners.
The two-day workshop aimed to connect the local LGBTIQ+ community and LGBTIQ+ asylum-seekers and refugees to enhance their social network resources, create a safe space for bonding, and offer a social platform for articulating LGBTIQ+ asylum-seekers and refugees’ demands. It was a direct result of the participatory assessment conducted in February 2022 and various discussions with LGBTIQ+ persons of concern where UNHCR learned that one of their main challenges is getting in contact with the local LGBTIQ+ community and integrating within this group.
“Our persons of concern have strong willingness to interact with the local LGBTIQ+ community to better understand the networks and services available to them in BiH, so we decided to organize an event where they can meet and share common goals,” said Suzanne Edelkamp, UNHCR employee who co-organised the event.
The success of the workshop was, among other things, also ensured through the partnership with a local NGO INTERgreat whose employees and volunteers have extensive experience working with vulnerable groups, especially with refugees, asylum-seekers and LGBTIQ+ persons.
“The best thing about the workshop was that I wasn’t alone and I had a chance to finally feel like a member of one family. The most beautiful feeling is to feel supported, and to be accepted by the community,” said one of the workshop participants.