Our Team

Board of Directors

Most of the Board of Directors of the Forcibly Displaced People Network are people with the lived experience of LGBTIQ+ forced displacement.

Get in touch with our Board.

Renee Dixson


Co-founder, Acting Chair

Since 2004 Renee Dixson has been working as a human rights defender at the international and national levels. As a result of visible work, they were forced to leave the country where they lived.

The process of settling down in Australia and their position as an outsider and insider have given them an opportunity to see how discourses shaped stories around LGBTIQ and refugee communities.

Currently, Renee Dixson is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University. In their PhD research, Renee is building the first in the world queer digital archive of oral histories about LGBTIQ forced displacement.

Renee continues their work as an emerging academic and activist by trying to build bridges and make a systematic change to support LGBTIQ displaced people.

Elena Fox



Elena Fox brings more than 20 years of project management and finance expertise having worked across diverse sectors in Australia and overseas.

Elena was forced to leave her country of origin. She is a big advocate for the importance of mainstreaming gender lens in policy and practice in relation to LGBTIQ+ forced displacement.

Lavanya Kala



Lavanya Kala is an experienced policy and government relations professional. She has a Bachelor’s in Communications (Social Inquiry) from the University of Technology Sydney and extensive knowledge of social policy, politics and not-for-profit management. Lavanya has particular expertise in migration, human rights and gender equity issues. In June 2018, Lavanya was selected as one of only two civil society representatives to attend the 38th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She has also contributed to the 70th Session of CEDAW. Lavanya is a proud feminist, giving her time to a number of not-for-profits in the past decade aimed at supporting women and girls, including Mahboba’s Promise, the National Committee for UN Women and the Harmony Alliance – Migrant and Refugee Women for Change. Lavanya currently serves as on the Board of Directors at Beryl Women Inc. in Canberra, Australia’s longest operating women’s refuge, and is a Director at Forcibly Displaced People Network (FDPN).

Aisya Zaharin


Board Director

Aisya identifies herself as an intersectional Muslim feminist and a socialist.

Aisya has recently completed her paper on countering Islamic conservatism on transgender issues. She currently serves as one of the Board Directors of Forcibly Displaced People Network while doing her PhD. Her research includes extensive field in the area of political science and history, from Malaysian media and anthropology, de-westernization and decolonisation to LGBTQI+ and Islam with a focus on improving social inequality, promoting cultural relativism and social responsibility concepts. Aisya shares her lived experience and learnings through her academic-activist performance by using intersectional feminism that views gender as the primary lens through which various forms of inequalities are experienced.

Azlan Ehsani


Board Director

Guided by the belief of “trying to leave this world a better place than you found it”, Azlan hopes to bring his years of experience in community work and advocacy to FDPN in supporting and advocating for LGBTIQ+ forcibly displaced people in Australia.

Azlan is also a community facilitator, racial justice educator and a recent playwright whose work over the years has been to provide the space and platform to engage and address the issues affecting queer and trans people of colour, refugees and asylum seekers.