Asylum seekers are facing ‘too high a bar’ in the UK
The UK government is still drastically falling short when it comes to the treatment of LGBTI asylum seekers.
Home Office officials are guilty of engaging in ignorant and bigoted questioning. The UK turns away many true claimants, at least 1,500 a year.
The report, released by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, was released a month after GSN began writing extensively about the Rainbow Rush scandal.
Gay Star News wrote an open letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid demanding for an immediate inquiry into the way the government treats LGBTI asylum seekers. The letter was ignored, despite the risk to people’s lives.
UKLGIG have interviewed 48 claimants from countries where it is illegal to be gay.
UK officials have said ridiculous things to asylum seekers
The report, which lists incidents from the past three years, makes for disturbing reading.
October 2015: An official asked an an asylum seeker to describe his partner. He said his boyfriend was hot and enjoyed playing cricket. The Home Office said his account was ‘defective’ because he was unable to elaborate on the fine details of cricket.
August 2016: An interviewer asked: ‘How is it you incorrectly refer to the T in LGBT as trans when it in fact means transgender?’
Around the same time, an asylum seeker described how a schoolboy friendship grew into a relationship when the two were 13 and 17. The interviewer then demanded to know why they didn’t go out on ‘dates’.
A bisexual man was told he was not credible as he had only met two people through dating websites.
Home Office setting ‘too high a bar’
October 2016: An official interrogated a gay man about how he felt giving oral sex to a man. The asylum seeker was told, in a different part of the interview, to not give sexually explicit evidence.
August 2017: A gay woman was refused because didn’t realize she was gay before she started to date women.
August 2017: A Muslim lesbian was told: ‘You are aware that homosexuality is forbidden in traditional Islam as stated in the Qu’ran, however you claim to have reconciled this by having your own relationship with God…. You have not provided a reasonable explanation as to why you have continued to practice Islam knowing full well that homosexuality is not permitted in the religion’.
UKLGIG said Home Office decision-makers were setting ‘too high a bar’ for LGBTI asylum seekers.
Emmanuel, who fled Nigeria, said the process of claiming asylum is ‘frustrating’.
‘The Home Office interviewer asked me how I know I’m a gay man,’ he said.
‘I told her I didn’t feel comfortable with ladies and I never felt anything when I was around them; but whenever I’m with men I feel happy and sexually attracted. She said I was contradicting myself.
‘She also said it was too risky for me to have been in a relationship with my male partner, but emotions are emotions. Sometimes you feel it and you just do it.
‘She asked me why I was in a relationship with another man if Christianity doesn’t accept it. I said I can’t help it, it’s who I am.’
Leila Zadeh, executive director of UKLGIG, said: ‘It’s important the Home Office treats [asylum seekers] with dignity and respect and doesn’t imply that they are lying when there is no basis for doing so.’