A little bit about us...

Rainbow Refugees NI was established in June 2022 by a group of queer people living in Belfast. The group initially wanted to challenge the mainstreaming of anti-refugee/migrant rhetoric in the UK and to ensure that this sentiment did not find a foothold within the local LGBTQIA+ community. 

The group led Belfast Pride Parade in 2022 with a strong REFUGEES WELCOME message. Participants wore masks painted with the flags of countries where our lives are criminalised, we sought to remind Pride attendees of their own vulnerability had they been born elsewhere.

Rainbow Refugees NI has been meeting monthly since Belfast Pride 2022 and membership has grown to more than 50 people, representing around 20 nationalities


But why does it matter? 

Globally, 65 jurisdictions criminalise private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity. People with minority sexual orientations and gender diversity can face the death penalty in 12 countries. Discrimination and persecution often leave LGBTQIA+ people with limited or no family or support networks. In fact, often it is those networks that present the greatest threat when someone comes out. 

Those who flee to the UK and Ireland due to their sexual orientation/gender identity to claim asylum rarely find a utopia here. Rather, they face a hostile asylum system spearheaded by an administration that increasingly demonises people seeking sanctuary. The current UK government follows its ‘hostile environment’ policy for migrants – working to end the right to claim asylum, and threatening those who do with removal to far flung places like Rwanda.




LGBTQIA+ people seeking sanctuary are routinely accommodated alongside people who share the national or religious attitudes of those who persecuted them in their home countries. Despite LGBTQIA+ people seeking sanctuary being recognised as a group with specific safety needs, the Home Office does not fails to proactively seek to prevent harm against them. With no option for separate accommodation, our members report a depressingly high rate (78%) of harassment within their asylum accommodation. We are working to change this.




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