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Bringing intersectionality to the topic of migration

With these stories, we want to highlight the lack of an intersectionality approach in the Belgian migration system. An intersectionality framework has the potential to reveal the systematic discrimination in refugee and migration policies and systems, point out disparities in accessing durable solutions, highlight oppression due to refugee-ness, and challenge rigid labels and categories.



Arrived in Belgium in 2022

On the very first day I applied for asylum, I met people from my country in the queue at Petit Chateau. After a brief conversation, I realised that they were the same society I was trying to flee, the same people who threatened me because of atheism and being queer. Thus I came to a quick realisation that if I wanted to protect myself from aggression, I had to continue hiding my identity here too. However, this was not an easy task, because of speaking English, the social assistants of Petit Chateau did not hold back to introduce me to every single resident from my country of origin, this is how most of my days at the reception center were spent translating documents, texts, complaints...


Lately, I was transferred to a shelter located in Wallonia.

While living in the shelter, I decided to participate in an educational project about women’s rights. When the time of my appointment came, I went to the educational department of the center. The person in charge was busy and I had to wait for her in the meeting room. That’s when one of the social workers of the center (who I had never met before) approached me, asking about the reason for my presence. After explaining that I was about to be part of a video about women’s rights, he stared at my shaved head and said:

- well, if you participate in a project about women, should not you look like a woman

- what do you mean?

- you should look like a princess, with long hair, a pretty dress, we need you to be beautiful

- is this a joke? when you look at me, don't you see a woman?

- yes, I do, but this woman, it would be better if she looked like a princess


I stood up and quickly left without even speaking to the person actually in charge of the project.

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