‘On speaking queerly in public’: message from a visit to a US church

A few days ago I visited the Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Georgetown, Washington D.C. We have a fantastic exchange with Reverend Cornwell and other church members, talking about how churches can (and should) be welcoming and safe spaces LGBGTIQ+ people.

At the end of our visit, Reverend Cornwell read out the below message, ‘On speaking queerly in public’.


Every time the word “gay” rolls off my tongue. when the words “queer” or “intersex” or “‘trans” or “nonbinary” or “bisexual” bless my lips…no matter what I’m talking about, I am also, always, sending a love letter, casting a lifeline, praying a prayer, and yes, obviously, waving a flag.

So many generations of silence and slurs, of words of violence and of quiet, lonely does-anyone-else-in-the-world-feel-this-way? My heart could burst every time I speak the imperfect but earnest attempts at finding ways to communicate lineages of “us.” Every word, a reaching toward each other. A “you’re not alone” or a “we got each other” and a “isn’t it divine, being this way?”

It’s never too early to start teaching this love language and planting these seeds of assurance…Train a child up in the way they should go, says the scriptures. And I want them all to go queerly, go freely, go in belonging.

I want us to raise a whole generation of kids who never learn to hate themselves. Or to treat others like monsters. Or that there’s anyone even god is against.

M Barclay

This is indeed part of my queer agenda: To expose children as early as possible to all the possibilities of their beautiful becoming. To leave no doubt that whichever way their love blossoms and their gender blooms and their body unfurls, they will be protected, cherished, celebrated, loved.

In the world as it is, to even begin to balance out all the messages otherwise, these things cannot be said enough. So we say them in every form they take across languages and cultures. We say them as early and as often as we can. We say them, especially, when they’re not welcome. We say them with all the love we’ve got and we will never, never stop.

M Barclay, enfleshed


I am visiting the United States on an International Visitor Leadership Program: Advancing Minority Rights. The programme is organised by the US State Department, with thanks to the US Embassy in Malta.


Visiting the United States to discuss strategies for protection of minority rights

I am currently in the United States on an International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) looking at how to strategise to better advocate for minority rights. I will be here for a total of three weeks, visiting Washington D.C., Montana, Oregon and San Francisco. Throughout the three weeks, we will be meeting State officials, NGOs and academics to discuss the current global situation in relation to minority rights and how we can better advocate for their protection.

At the moment I am in Washington D.C., part of a small group composed of other European human rights leaders. Our group is a mixed one, including human rights lawyers, an anti-discrimination official, an anti-Semitism educator, a Romani activist, a municipal consultant, a ‘LGBTIQ+ Muslim’ activist and a member of the Sami Parliament. We are all committed to advancing minority rights and so far our discussions – in meetings but also over beers and food – have exposed us all to the realities faced by the groups we work with and for.

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Legal training on European Court cases in asylum

In April, our Legal Officer, participated in a training on case law developed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with relevance for asylum law. This was organised by the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Strasbourg. 

The training provided in depth knowledge on the ECHR approach in asylum cases. Experienced speakers presented the Court’s approach in non-refoulement cases, detention cases, interim measures and the right to family life. The participants could visit the Court and meet the very experienced lawyers working there. 

The seminar was attended by lawyers in private practice, judges, European and national civil servants and other legal practitioners dealing with asylum law.

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Our Junior Legal Officer attended an advanced course on strengthening international protection

In October three of our lawyers attended an advanced course on strengthening international protection. Neil (Director), Alexis (Legal Officer) and Mireille (Junior Legal Officer) spent 3 days in Marseille participating in engaging discussions and workshops, whilst also networking with our friends and colleagues in other Member States.

Why do we attend these events? What are the benefits to our work, and to our beneficiaries?

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Alternatives to detention discussed in legal training

Between 1 and 2 October, aditus foundation’s staff participated to the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA) Advanced Course 2021: ‘Strengthening International Protection in Europe and Thinking Ahead’ training organised in Marseille by the European Council on Refugee and Exiles (ECRE).

The training was attended by legal practitioner and members of the ELENA network, which brings together a wide range of actors in the field of migration and asylum. It provided valuable input in key topics surrounding the current legal challenges in migration and asylum faced by legal practitioners all around Europe. Our interest was to focus on alternatives to detention as a key point for legal training.

On aditus’ side, the event was attended by Director Neil Falzon, Legal Officer Alexis Galand and Junior Legal Officer Mireille Boffa.

Specific workshops aimed at tailoring the comprehension of these key topics were held throughout the two days event. The workshops on alternatives to detention was of particular importance to aditus’ lawyers as they are confronted daily with the legal challenges surrounding detention. 

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