Secret Garden is a Foundation of and for LGBT’s (Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual and Transgender) with an ethnic-cultural background, and sympathizers based in Amsterdam.
The group with a Muslim background forms a large part of our target group. Its task is to represent the interests of its target group in the broadest sense of the word.
Secret Garden offers social, legal and psychological support and counselling to all LGBT’s of our target group. Also an important part of our work concerns the LGBT asylum seekers.
The support provided by Secret Garden depends on the demand for care, which after notification by e-mail, phone or entry is identified during an initial interview. People are linked to each other, one-to-one or in a group when they desire to share their story or want to meet other peers. There is a room in the building where people can talk to each other.
To persons threatened by family or put on the street, we try to provide shelter and psychological support through the volunteer network. With some regularity, one day a week we have a psychologist present to talk to people. If people need shelter, we seek to provide this by finding a safe place within the network of the Foundation.
LGBT immigrants are often helped with practical problems relating to; the integration course, social affairs, housing etc. We also represent the interests of LGBT asylum seekers who have fled because of their sexual orientation and request for help. Secret Garden also mediates in contacts with government agencies.
Besides this assistance Secret Garden offers the opportunity to meet people during our meetings (theme nights). After a meal, a documentary (film or other audio-visual material) is shown and we have a discussion about it. Sometimes there is only a discussion evening. After this you have the opportunity to continue together to exchange views. These theme nights are monthly visited by about twenty-five to fifty people.
- Providing information to our target group (Muslim or from another ethnic background) on various topics and activities that can help them in their lives as gay / bisexual / lesbian / transgender.
- Serving as an interest group for LGBT’s, toward other organizations and groups.
- Offering courses to our target group, both educational and creative to support them in their life, promoting the self-acceptance of LGBT’s.
- Promoting the integration/participation of LGBT’s from our target group within the Dutch multicultural society.
- Cooperation with native and ethnic interest groups or self-help organizations in the Netherlands and with international groups, which represent or promotes the interests of our target group.
Support & Activities offered by Secret Garden:
– Theme nights, meetings and debates:
If you discover that you have feelings for someone of the same sex, it could change your life. Beautiful feelings…, but also exciting! Because homosexuality within the Muslim/Migrants culture is still a big taboo! And this also applies to a greater or lesser extent to many people with a different ethnic background. And if your family finds out, you can be put on the street and maybe you run more risks. If you would like to talk about it with someone or need shelter, feel free to contact us.
To learn more about how you can shape your life as a LGBT and to better deal with it in daily life, Secret Garden organizes every month a major theme night. At all evenings one or more guest speakers are invited to discuss a specific topic with the visitors
We also offer Dutch Course & Tutoring and Organizing HIV / AIDS and STD education, handing out condoms and organizing thematic meetings on safe sex, etc.
Secret Garden Foundation also organizes each year meeting nights in a multicultural atmosphere. On these evenings a large variety of music is being played from various Islamic countries in combination with world music.
During these meeting evenings, special attention is paid to other ongoing activities which our group organizes during the week (information about weekly consultation hours, on the theme nights, about AIDS / STD etc.).
These evenings are also an excellent opportunity for handing out leaflets and free condoms and providing safe sex education. For example, in the form of a performance.
Our meeting nights are open to everyone, family, friends etc. – regardless of age, nationality, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, or religion.
– You live in Amsterdam or somewhere else and you know nothing about the gay scene?
– You want to meet peers; Muslim or from another ethnic-cultural background?
– You need information about homosexuality within migrant communities, particularly within the Muslim community?
– You are looking for social assistance, or you have any other question? Please contact us. There is always someone who would like to answer your questions. (See contact).
Asylum seekers/Refugees (Support for LGBT asylum seekers and refugees):
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.
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.