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  • Writer's pictureThe LGBTQ+ Law Clinic

Dear Suella Braverman, We Will Not Stop

The attack on refugees continues to escalate, with our own government being one of the loudest voices. According to this government, LGBTQ+ people seeking asylum are only in this country to 'game the system'.

Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that being gay is punishable by death in 11 countries. or that LGBTQ+ people are criminalised in a further 53.

In fact, Suella Braverman, Home Secretary of the governing Conservative government, will tell the American Enterprise Institute think tank, that the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention 'was an incredible achievement of its age,' but 'we now live in a completely different time.'

And she will warn that world leaders 'will not be able to sustain an asylum system if in effect, simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection.'

However, as is often with statements made by this government around refugees, you may find them to be, at best, half truths. Just 1.5% of asylum claims last year references sexuality, but in spite of this, Braverman told ITV that the situation is not 'fair' or 'right', and that there are 'many instances' where people purport to be gay to receive preferential treatment in asylum applications.

Claiming asylum on the basis of your sexuality in the United Kingdom is an incredibly difficult route to follow if your hope is to be granted asylum. Along your journey you will face intimate and often inappropriate questions, ignorance, and a culture of disbelief within the Home Office. You will certainly not be given preferential treatment, as Braverman insists.

Regardless of this reality, we will not be deterred. Which is why we have, in partnership with the charity Asylum Justice, established a once per month free asylum and immigration drop-in in Cardiff. If successful, we hope to expand further afield.

No matter how hostile the environment, we will continue to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ+ people seeking sanctuary.

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