Secret Garden Foundation supports lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT’s), to function better in society. Also guiding asylum seekers who flee to the Netherlands because of their sexual orientation. This group is supported in social, psychological and legal matters. Research shows that these persons find it very difficult to talk about their sexual identity. This is known to the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) and the responsible Dutch Ministry. This has been confirmed, very clearly in a recent study done by the psychologist Peter Herfst
(see appendix: research asylum seekers)
Since 2009 Secret Garden has been more involved in supporting and guiding this specific group. For this reason a special brochure has been created and a documentary.
On 27, 28 and 29 September 2012, a conference “WE ARE FREE ” was organized and many international organizations participated in this event. Topics were discussed and brought to the attention which are of great importance to this group of asylum seekers.
(see conference report)
Through the years Secret Garden has developed a great expertise and experience in this field. It is a known fact that most LGBT asylum seekers do not primarily dare to talk about their feelings and sexual orientation. We know by experience, that this is a huge psychological burden for the applicants. And we believe that other agencies such as COA and the responsible minister will recognize this problem.
Thus, it is for all parties involved a great challenge to see to it that the asylum procedure is adequately handled and within a reasonable time.
Also, we identify that the ambiguity of sexual identity creates complex problems for all involved.
Needless to mention that this is a very time consuming and expensive task.
Aware of this fact Secret Garden has therefore decided to devote more attention to this group using education. We want to inform them about sexual diversity in the Netherlands and in particular how to deal with their sexual orientation in Dutch society. So rapid clarity can arise in their situation and hopefully they can quicker accept themselves and decide to tell about their orientation. Allowing them to better prepare for their asylum procedure.