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Nicolas Noguier and the creation of the Refuge: A story of decisive encounters to support young LGBT people in distress

Nicolas Noguier, creator of Le Refuge, an association helping young LGBT people in distress, has traveled a path strewn with important stages and unexpected encounters that have shaped his commitment. In this article, we will trace his journey, highlighting the key moments and people who inspired the creation of the Refuge. From supporting young homeless people to building a welcome and support structure, Nicolas Noguier has shown empathy, determination and perseverance to help those in need.
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The genesis of commitment

The creation of the Refuge is inseparable from the personal history of Nicolas Noguier. After a suicide attempt, he decides to live his homosexuality openly, thus freeing himself from the weight of secrecy. It was then that he began to meet young people in distress, young people who confided in him. Among them are those who have been rejected by their parents because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Nicolas, driven by deep empathy and unfailing determination, feels the need to create a structure to support these young people, thus giving birth to the Refuge.




The need for a listening and support structure

Nicolas Noguier notes that many young people, in general, have a bad experience of their homosexuality, for lack of a trustworthy person in whom to confide. He notes that simply offering them a listening ear can help them get better. Over the course of his meetings, he identifies a crucial lack of social structures and listening for young LGBT people. The research carried out by Nicolas also reveals that social workers, faced with these delicate situations, do not always know how to approach questions of sexual orientation or gender identity among young people. It is this observation that pushes him to create the Refuge, in order to fill this void.


The discovery of similar structures and the first initiatives

An article published in the gay magazine Têtu opens Nicolas Noguier's eyes to the existence of a structure similar to the one he plans to set up. He came into contact with this organization based in Manchester, England, and carried out extensive research on the methodologies and practices implemented to welcome young LGBT people. In his quest for solutions that already exist in France, he notes the absence of similar projects. Educators and social workers often find themselves at a loss when faced with young gay or transgender people seeking support. On the strength of these discoveries, Nicolas Noguier feels invested with the mission of creating the Refuge.


Têtu's support and the emergence of a dedicated team

Nicolas Noguier decides to write a letter to Têtu magazine, exposing the journey that led him to want to help young LGBT people in distress. To his surprise, the magazine publishes his letter, thus attracting the attention of many people sensitive to the cause. It is from this moment that everything accelerates for Nicolas and the Refuge.


Decisive encounters and organization of the Refuge

Nicolas Noguier meets many people who share his vision and commitment. Among them, a handful of people become the hard core of the Refuge, offering unfailing support throughout the creation of the association. At the beginning of 2003, with this dedicated team by his side, Nicolas made his dream come true and officially founded the Refuge.


The decisive influence of Marie-Bénédicte Melton

During his quest to find safe accommodation for the first youngster welcomed by the Refuge, Nicolas meets Marie-Bénédicte Melton. He asks for her help in finding a suitable hotel. However, Marie-Bénédicte, who owns the Hotel St Charles in Montpellier, quickly realizes that hotels are not the ideal environment for the reconstruction and development of young people in distress. She sees these young as fledglings fallen from the nest, in need of learning and rebuilding. Thanks to her professional experience, she understands that apartments are a much more favorable environment for their development. She therefore suggests that Nicolas rent a small studio that she owns from the association. This crucial decision marks a turning point in the history of the Refuge, which since then has been welcoming young people in apartments, thus providing an environment more conducive to their recovery and reconstruction.


The financial prosperity of the Refuge

Initially, the Refuge was sorely lacking in financial resources to support its activities. However, thanks to the commitment and determination of Nicolas Noguier, the association manages to prosper over time. Using various fundraising, partnership and awareness strategies, Nicolas mobilizes the necessary resources to meet the needs of LGBT youth in distress. This financial success allows the Refuge to consolidate its services and expand its impact.


An enduring commitment

Although Nicolas Noguier left the presidency of Le Refuge in February 2021, his dedication to the LGBT community persists. He continues to work within the association "Family with a big heart", which helps gays and transgender people in danger in their country of origin and who seek refuge in France.



The story of Nicolas Noguier and the creation of the Refuge is a living illustration of the power of decisive encounters and important stages that shape life's journeys. Thanks to his empathy, his determination and his perseverance, Nicolas has created a structure that provides crucial support to young LGBT people in distress. The Refuge is a safe haven where these young people can rebuild their lives, supported by a dedicated team.


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