Ethnic minorities face difficulty ‘coming out’

Being straight is often the only acceptable sexual orientation in some cultures but a new nationwide forum wants to help more gay, bisexual and trangender people break the news to their family

An increasing number of non-ethnic Danes are seeking help and advice about coming out as gay, Politiken newspaper reported this week.

Sabaah – a Copenhagen-based organisation established to help homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people with non-ethnic Danish backgrounds – reports that it has been contacted by around 75 people this year seeking help. Since the organisation was established in 2006, it has been contacted by an average of 40-50 people a year.

The organisation knows that non-ethnic Danes across the country face problems when trying to come out and have decided to launch a nationwide online forum at the end of August.

“We have noticed that we are getting more attention,” Sabaah spokesperson Fahad Saeed told Politiken. “It is difficult enough coming out at gay, bisexual or transsexual. But if you also add the perspective of ethnic minorities, where culture and religion also play a role, it can be even harder.”

LGBT Denmark also reports an increasing number of non-ethnic Danes have contacted the organisation.

“It is happening more and more often that someone with a non-Danish background contacts us,” spokesperson Vivi Jelstrup told Politiken. “It is often about how to respond to their family’s reaction.”

City Council is supporting Sabaah financially and in a joint op-ed in Politiken with Saeed, Copenhagen's deputy mayor for integration, Anna Mee Allerslev (Radikale), stressed the importance of helping those in need.

“Homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people with backgrounds as ethnic minorities often suffer twice as much,” they wrote. “Firstly, they are often subject to hate for something as simple as their sexual orientation, their skin colour or other factors. On top of that, they are offered no understanding from their closest family. This double impact can be so violent that suicide can seem like the only way out.”





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