Advantages And Disadvantages Of Newcomers In Norrköping

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THE STRUGGLES OF LGBTQ+ NEWCOMERS IN NORRKÖPING: CAUGHT UP IN PSEUDO-MODERNITY

According to The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), in 2016, Norrköping was the biggest receiver of asylum seekers in the county of Östergötland. Statistics and figures in themselves can be perceived as intimidating and heavy, and viewing newcomers as a single large group can be scary.
However, people are from all walks of life, no different from you and I. Ignorance only breeds fear and hate, but curiosity brings understanding and awareness. For that reason and because their specific experiences hinge on the intersection of being both LGBTQ+ and a newcomer, this article focuses on queer newcomers in Norrköping. In collaboration with RFSL, Norrköping Pride and the Swedish Migration Board, several interviews were conducted with both newcomers and people working with them. Sweden has an international reputation for being progressive and modern in LGBTQ+ issues, and Swedes are usually quick to pat themselves on the back for their modern ways.
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Under the law, minorities, regardless of their sexual orientation/gender identity as well as their ethnic background, are given substantial protection from discrimination and violence. The contact with the Swedish Migration Board can become problematic as they demand proof of sexual identity if the newcomer is also seeking asylum on security aspects linked to them being queer. Still, LGBTQ+ newcomers usually cannot be fully open with their sexual identities in their countries of origin as it is often considered a criminal offense. To then expect a newcomer to be openly queer from first contact is a high demand that many cannot meet primarily due to feelings of shame. The lack of trust can lead them to apply as non-LGBTQ+. Our interviewees testify to feeling questioned and not fully trusted in the contact with the Migration

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