Overcoming Problems with Sexual Minority Refugee Claims: Is LGBT Cultural Competency Training the Solution?
Thomas Spijkerboer, ed., Fleeing Homophobia. Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Asylum (Taylor & Francis Books, Oxon, United Kingdom, 2013)
31 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2012 Last revised: 27 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2013
When problems related to sexual orientation and gender identity are raised in relation to refugee determination proceedings, many advocates, refugee lawyers and refugees consistently call on adjudication authorities to mandate continuing professional training for personnel involved in LGBT refugee cases. For instance, the 2011 report Fleeing Homophobia on LGBT asylum claims in Europe contains explicit references to training in its recommendations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has also raised the issue of training in their 2008 Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. While calls for training have sometimes outlined specific competencies to be developed by adjudicators, for the most part proponents fail to be specific about what type of professional development will result in better decision-making in LGBT refugee cases. By first considering the objectives and goals of sexual orientation and gender identity training for refugee personnel, this paper will argue that ‘LGBT Cultural Competency Training,’ an approach developed in the health and social work fields, is an appropriate model for the refugee context. It would conceptualise more clearly the kinds of professional development interventions that are required to improve the refugee determination process, and it would also help in targeting training modules to be most effective. The author will also highlight the limitations of the tool and caution that LGBT Cultural Competency Training is not a cure-all for the full range of problems facing LGBT refugees.
Keywords: Refugees, LGBT, Cross-cultural competency, training, sexual minorities
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