To this day, LGBTQIA+ people can be prosecuted for who they love and who they are in 69 UN member states. In 11, they can face the death penalty. Even after they’ve left, LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers often still face additional challenges and vulnerabilities.
Life for the LGBTQIA+ Community in the UK
In the UK, around 2,000 LGBTQIA+ people claim asylum every year due to fear of persecution in their home country. Newly arrived LGBTQIA+ refugees have overcome incredible challenges for the chance to call the UK their home. Many have had to flee their home countries due to a well-founded fear of persecution (often state-sanctioned) based on their sexual or gender identity. Many have escaped persecution, violence, and torture, often by family members or members of the community.
“only 1 in 4 people who apply for asylum on the basis of their sexuality are granted status”
Often, LGBTQIA+ people fleeing persecution are not even aware that they can be given protection on account of being LGBTQIA+, or might feel shame and fear about talking about their sexual orientation or gender identity, so they often apply for asylum long after arriving in the country. Many first applications are rejected because they do not have enough supporting evidence when they submit their application as they first arrive, and do not have specialised professional legal advice. In order to be granted safety, LGBTQIA+ people need to ‘prove’ they are LGBTQIA+, and gathering that evidence takes time and can be very traumatic.
“I had to expose my scars to a GP as ‘evidence’ that I had been tortured as a result of my sexuality” – SILC member
“Going through asylum and having to explain my sexuality to a stranger was the hardest thing I have ever faced. I had never lived openly in Uganda because I was afraid, so I grew up concealing my sexuality.” – SILC Member
“I have lost most of my biological family members. But I have a new family – my chosen family of my partner, my friends, my LGBTQI+ community. This is my family with whom I feel safe, loved and secure, despite all the trouble.” – SILC Member
References: Say It Loud Club – Letter to Parliament regarding the N&B Bill: https://bills.parliament.uk/publications/42823/documents/703
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