CWS seeks to provide protection and assistance to the most vulnerable members of our communities. Throughout the world today, LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) communities continue to suffer from discrimination and persecution. CWS works to create a safe space for LGBTI persons, providing both resettlement for LGBTI refugees and protection to those still facing the fear of persecution. CWS currently works with LGBTI communities in both Africa and the United States in order to safeguard the human rights of all persecuted persons and provide services that address the needs of the LGBTI community.
The CWS Safe Space program has assisted faith leaders in Kenya and South Africa to extend welcome to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, including LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers. In 2017, more than 300 faith leaders participated in CWS training and dialogue activities. Community outreach to LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers in Nairobi and Johannesburg has identified new strategies to ensure personal safety and access to essential services. CWS has also launched peer support activities for parents and caregivers of LGBTQ youth, at the urging of faith leaders who are providing pastoral care to families. IN 2017, CWS launched a new partnership to expand HIV prevention and treatment services to LGBTI refugees in Kenya, working together with the Kenyan non-profit organization LVCT Health. CWS Safe Space activities in are supported by the Arcus Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Through its immigration and refugee services, CWS assists LGBTI newcomers to find safety and rebuild their lives in the US. CWS assists its resettlement network to connect LGBTI refugees with local resources - including LGBTQ community centers and open and affirming faith community groups - and advocates for safe spaces for newcomers of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. Click here to view a CWS webinar on Extending Welcome to LGBTI Newcomers, originally conducted in 2014.