The Queer Cyprus Association published Mapping Study on Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus

(Nicosia, 06.01.2022) The LGBTI+ in Freedom from Exploitation (LIFE) project, funded by the European Union under the Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings grant scheme and implemented by the Queer Cyprus Association in cooperation with the KAOS-GL, published Mapping Study on Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus.

The Queer Cyprus Association has been contributing to the struggle of LGBTI+s who are trafficked in the northern part of Cyprus for the last two and half years with the LGBTI+ in Freedom from Exploitation (LIFE) project, whose slogan is “for Cyprus where Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and beyond (LGBTI+) will be free from exploitation”.  As part of its anti-trafficking efforts, the project first published ‘Mapping Study on the Situation of LGBTI+ Sex Workers in the northern part of Cyprus’. In order to shed a light on the problems raised in this study, the project then published ‘Mapping Study on Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus’.

Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus: Content and Scope of the Report

The study analyses how ‘social workers’ provide services to LGBTI+s and how and to what extent LGBTI+s benefit from those services. The Mapping Study on Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus was carried out by scientific consultant Buse Erzeybek Şemi and research assistant Saime Uluçaylı. Onur Yılmaz contributed to the analysis of the data. Faika Deniz Pasha took part in the editorial part of the report.

The section on access to social services directed to LGBTI+s consists of personal information, LGBTI+’ access to social services (housing, social assistance, psycho-social support, post-violence support mechanisms) and LGBTI+’s thoughts on accessing services. Another part of the study was carried out by analysing the levels of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia of social worker in order to examine the attitudes towards LGBTI+s on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and characteristics. In the last part of the research, there are suggestions for the development of social services for LGBTI+s in the northern part of Cyprus, in line with the findings from the study and the answers given by both participant groups.

 Highlights of the Report

The responses given by LGBTI+s illustrate that they experience stigmatization, oppression, and violence from their families and the broader society. According to the report, there are shortcomings in accessing services by LGBTI+s . Moreover, quality and long-lasting effectiveness of services provided by local bodies/local communities is not sufficient enough to respond the needs of LGBTI+s.  It is revealed that the ‘social services department’ needs to change the service scope and service priority of the ‘department’ on issues related to protection from violence, discrimination, exclusion and oppression, safe accommodation, provision of basic life needs, providing basic services such as psycho-social support and counseling as `department` is not the first recourse that comes into the mind of LGBTI+s.

The findings from the responses of the ‘social workers’ demonstrate that the direct service providers, by a great majority, do not espouse any negative behaviours or attitudes towards the LGBTI+s that would cause discrimination or stigmatization. Although these findings are encouraging, the situation can still be improved via further awareness raising, relevant trainings and update in legal texts or policies.

Suggestions on the Report Results…

According to the research, there is a need to create policies that will pave the way and make it easier for LGBTI+s to access the services they need to protect their rights and meet their minimum living needs.

In line with the responses given by LGBTI+s and social workers, recommendations were prepared at micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Recommendations were generated in different categories relating to the needs of service providers and beneficiaries at the micro level; the needs and problems of LGBTI+s and their families; and the social structure we are in, its values and culture as well as the legal texts and social policies directly impacting the scope of the services provided.

You can visit the reports section on the Queer Cyprus Association’s website to access the full report on ‘Mapping Study on Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus or visit our association to obtain a physical copy.

The Queer Cyprus Association published Mapping Study on Access of LGBTI+s’ to Existing Social Services in the northern part of Cyprus