Oliver Zafar

Queer Refuge/Bridgemeals

I am Oliver, a gay man from Pakistan. Growing up life was very challenging for me because being gay in a country that didn’t accept my sexuality and openly gay means a death sentence in Pakistan, I have had to learn to adapt to having autism plus a speech and language impairment too.

When I came to Australia and applied for asylum (still waiting for a decision), I experienced a lack of support for LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum seekers so I try to volunteer and help in LGBTIQ+ peer support groups. I am currently working with Queer Refuge: mental health support group as a coordinator which organizes seminar/workshops for LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum seekers. Another group I am currently volunteering with is BridgeMeals which organise free monthly dinners for LGBTIQ+ refugees and asylum seekers.

Apart from that, I am a general committee member of VicBears too which is the biggest bear group in Victoria.