– The first step, and the purpose of this project, is to bring new people’s voices up. Everybody should feel “We exist!” says Rachel McDonald, who is part of the SFQ project Making Space.

To be part of a marginalized community can be hard. But what happens if you’re marginalized within the very same community that’s supposed to be your safe haven? Psychology student Rachel McDonald and her colleague Kabir have since September last year conducted nine in depth interviews with LGBTQ+ students all over the country to give a voice to people who aren’t being heard in general.

The students were both international and local students with non-Swedish or non-white background. The purpose of this is to raise students’ voices from different socio-cultural-ethnic and religious groups in order to determine if they experience some not yet described oppression within the Swedish LGBTQ+ movement.

The project is conducted through SFQ (Sveriges förenade HBTQ-studenter) and is called ”Making Space: Raising hidden voices of the Swedish LGBTQ+ community”.
– We talked to people who aren’t used to talking about themselves and in many cases they were so relieved and happy to finally be heard. There were people who had been exposed to both racism and violence because of who they are, says Kabir.

With the improved understanding of underrepresented individual’s experiences of the LGBTQ+ movement in Sweden, they hope they will be able to work together, as a whole movement, to increase representative participation within the movement.

The project is expected to be finished this summer. Rachel and Kabir say that they hope to educate people and give them a new perspective of things.
– The people we interviewed all asked “Will this make an impact?”, Kabir explains. I’m personally optimistic about it. If we can get people to say “Oh, I’ve never thought about it before”, then maybe there can be a change.
How will you present the results?
– We’re traveling to other student cities, for example Lund, Linköping, Luleå and so on to present the results, Kabir says.

Read more in Vertex #4-2017.

Anders Samuelsson