LGBTI rights activists in the United Kingdom are divided about the decision by UK Black Pride to exclude the Home Office from last weekend’s Pride celebrations because of the agency’s handing of LGBTI asylum seekers.
The decision came at a time when the Home Office was displaying a rainbow-hued version of its logo on Facebook and simultaneously moving toward deporting a gay Kenyan who plays for the Bristol Bisons rugby club.
Pride organizers stated:
“In light of the Home Office’s and the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) continued discrimination against the communities we represent, and the work we and other organisations connected to us do in support of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers, the UK Black Pride board of directors has taken the decision to remove both the Home Office’s and the NCA’s stalls from our event on Sunday 7 July in Haggerston Park.
“When we approved their application to have a stall, we were under the impression the stall would be manned by the Home Office’s internal LGBTQ network, Spectrum.
“We feel a deep commitment to LGBTQ people of colour, wherever they work, and felt compelled to offer the network an opportunity to engage with the UK Black Pride community about the work they may be undertaking internally to address the Home Office’s discrimination against the communities we represent.
“We thought it would also be an opportunity for our community to respond directly to the NCA about the lack of representative data on crimes against people of colour in this country and to make clear the need for more robust interventions against hate crimes experienced by LGBTQ people of colour. We understand this is not the time nor place for this conversation.”
“As much as I don’t agree with some LGBTI asylum decisions from the Home Office, however I agree that they have to reach and engage with the LGBTI community, especially the BAME [Black, Asians and Minority Ethnic] community, because it seems there is a lot they don’t understand.
They need to see that BAME LGBTI people do actually exist and UK Black Pride could have offered that opportunity. They need to see us in real life not in their stereotypical asylum interviews.
However, I do understand why some people feel the need to exclude them, but engaging with them or opening the door for them to our community might have given us a leverage to express and engage.
As much as we might feel bad about them but sadly LGBTI asylum seekers have to go through them in order to stay, hence a need to engage and tolerate them outside the Home Office premises.
Therefore, I would prefer to see their stall on UK Black Pride, because I do have a lot of questions to ask them.”
- Requiring asylum-seekers to prove that they are LGBTQI+, which is “something nobody is required to do at any other time or in any other space.”
- Detaining asylum-seekers and forcing them to prepare their asylum claims while in detention.
- Wrongly interpreting LGBTQI+ asylum-seekers’ “shame and embarrassment when they were in the interview room as lying.”
- Disregarding evidence of asylum-seekers’ sexual orientation such as photographs, relationships and dating app usage.
- Putting LGBTQI+ detainees at “high risk of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment inside detention centres.”
- Campaigners accuse Home Office of hypocrisy on LGBT rights (July 2019, Left Foot Forward)
- The UK must stop persecuting people who seek asylum based on sexuality (July 2019, The Guardian)
- UK Black Pride removes Home Office stall at event after ‘error in judgement’ (July 2019, The Independent)
- ‘Hypocritical’ Home Office adopts Pride flag while deporting gay man (July 2019, The Independent)