Pride: The right to be safe and to be yourself

For Pride month, we have come together with Rainbow Migration and Refugee Action to highlight the voices of LGBTQI people who have refugee status or are seeking protection in the UK.
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67 countries still criminalise same-sex partnerships and LGBTQI people
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11 countries can or do impose the death penalty for same-sex intimacy

There are still 67 countries where same-sex relations are a criminal offence, and in some of these countries, it is punishable by death.

LGBTQI people often face violence and discrimination from both state officials and members of their families and communities without any protection from law enforcement.

Once they get to the UK seeking safety, they often experience discrimination and abuse throughout the asylum process.

As part of their asylum applications, LGBTQI people are required to ‘prove’ their sexual orientation or gender identity to officials, and make sure their ‘coming out’ story is credible enough. This can be extremely challenging. Many of these individuals may have concealed their true selves for years in their home countries and reaching out to friends or former partners can potentially put them in danger.

Proving that you are LGBTQI

Michael, from West Africa; Zarith, from Southeast Asia; and Tony, from Africa, are three gay men who escaped to the UK because they weren’t safe back home. In the videos below they explain their story.

Unsafe accommodation

LGBTQI people seeking asylum are often housed in inappropriate accommodation, with people who are LGBTQI-phobic. In some cases, they can also be placed in immigration centres, where the isolation is more extreme and bullying and abuse are widespread.

The new Refugee Ban Bill that the UK government is passing through Parliament at the moment, will make life even more challenging for people seeking protection here. Many more LGBTQI people might end up locked up in immigration detention for long periods of time, and sent away to countries where it is dangerous for LGBTQI people to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read Chege’s story to learn more about alternatives to detention.

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The Refugee Ban Bill

A message to the Home Secretary: We asked Zarith, Richard, and Tony what they think about the Refugee Ban Bill and what they would like to say to the Home Secretary.

Celebrating Pride in 2023

For many LGBTQI+ people across the globe, celebrating Pride is not only impossible but also unthinkable. Pride celebrations across the UK might be their first-ever experience of visibility and celebration. While Michael and Zarith have already celebrated Pride, for Tony, Pride 2023 is going to be his first!

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Related

Backs of two people

Jon and Marbilla’s story

The story of Jon and Marbilla’s journey to a Micro Rainbow safe house as Saudi LGBTQI asylum seekers.