The reception of LGBTIQ+ refugees in Europe

June 2021
PDF version

As part of the Rainbow Welcome! project, POUR LA SOLIDARITE-PLS and its partners are publishing a study that provides an overview and critical analysis of current regulatory frameworks and procedures related to claims for protection and asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).

Around the world, many people face persecution because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (SOGI). Leaving their country of origin becomes their only means of survival. Fleeing persecution, therefore, to find refuge in a host country where “new labels” are added to those of the LGBTQI+ communities gathering people whose SOGI is different from the heterosexual and cisgender norm : refugee, foreigner, or migrant.

Seeking international protection through asylum is one of the ways in which people's rights can be protected and guaranteed when they are persecuted or their rights are affected. Over the years, asylum has become a more recurrent feature of international protection. As a result, asylum based on SOGI has gradually been formally recognised in international, European and national standards, although gaps and problems remain.

The main objective of this study is to interrogate these standards at the international, European and national levels in four EU Member States (Belgium, France, Italy and Spain), identifying the relevant rules and the basic features of the applicable procedures. It also addresses some of the criticisms of existing regulations

The study was prepared using various sources:

  • information collected in each partner country
  • official reports, newsletters and databases of legal instruments
  • reports and websites of international organisations working on LGBTQIA+ issues,
  • results of academic research on the subject.

The Rainbow Welcome! project does not stop here! The study is currently available in English, but will be translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan and Italian. Moreover, the next steps are to establish a diagnosis of the needs of the actors in the field in order to propose relevant awareness-raising and training tools. Stay tuned and enjoy reading! 

Share your support using #RainboWelcome hashtag on social media!

This study is co-financed by the European programme Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC).


Marie Schuller


European Union