Wednesday, July 7, 2010

United Kingdom a Haven For Persecuted Gays

By: Craig Rigby
There is a long tradition of offering asylum in the UK. People who are persecuted or threatened with violence or death in the own countries are offered leave to live and work in the UK as long as they can prove they were actually being persecuted. They are housed and fed by the government until they can find their feet.

This is a political hot topic. Bogus asylum seekers...who are in reality economic migrants, are often accused of trying to hijack the asylum system to live off the UK state. Unlike some liberal people I am absolutely sure that this is not quite all hot air. Some asylum seekers do take the mickey out of the system; a particularly bad example lives next door to my grandmother. However I do believe the system has value and that genuine asylum seekers should continue to be helped.

It was against this backdrop that the previous government denied sexuality was a valid reason for asylum.
The Home Office had been denying asylum to gay people at an alarming rate. An estimated 98% of cases involving gay asylum seekers had been rejected in the last five years. The Home Office claims that they were taking sexuality into account in all cases. They had decided that the situation of these gay people was "reasonably tolerable" and that they could be expected to conceal their homosexuality. I think that that may work in places like Poland, where you are likely to be shunned, but not places like Iran...where you are likely to be hanged.

Enter the Law Lords. After working its way up through the appeals process the case of two men, an Iranian and a gentleman from Cameroon reached the Supreme Court and today they made their decision.

They have unanimously decided to allow asylum based on sexuality. Here is the summing up by the Law Lord (British for Supreme Court Judge), the appropriately named Lord Hope. He may look evil but it turns out he is nice:
"To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is.

"Homosexuals are as much entitled to freedom of association with others who are of the same sexual orientation as people who are straight."

So I say come all you gays from Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the US bible belt and live on these grey, cramped islands in homosexual bliss.


  1. Asylum certainly is a Hot topic in the UK. Being 22, i was brought up learning the true aspect of Asylum and was able to respect, like i can see you do Craig, this law. Other generations, well in particular using my Parents as an example, would often comment things like 'They should get back to their own country, theres not enough help for UK Citizens, or jobs for us, so why should we give them to these immigrants..' Nice..Not! Although i can respect this argument also, i feel that these people do not understand how little they actually get form the government etc...Anyway to my point!

    Although i respect Asylum, and 100% agree in this new, and recent decision, My concern is that this new rule could be abused, lets hope that it is not the case!!!

    Chris, Also Uk :-)

  2. as cramped as the U.K. may already be...and as little resources may be available...this law may still be the only chance some gay people will get at life. the alternative being an eventual hanging, beheading, or just plain disappearance. This will be a lifeline for many people and I would love to see the U.S. follow suit.

    though I doubt that a great many people would immigrate from the U.S.

  3. Thanks is so great to have an intelligent person correspond about gay rights with a British slant!

    The next time you guys come over to N. America you need to visit Canada. Dave and I drive up there often (51/2 hrs from Cleveland.) It is so nice to be in a country that has FULL MARRIAGE EQUALITY! Toronto is so fun and has such a great gay community. Come with us!! We are great tour guides!!! :)

  4. So I just woke up to the morning press. The right wing papers, well paper - the Daily Mail - is worried that everyone will pretend to be gay to get in now. Bit risky if you ask me, if immigration don't believe you you will have to go back to Iran after telling everyone you were gay.

    Me and Jake can't afford another holiday for years and years Jim! We need to save up all our money now. I do like Canada though, me and Jake know loads of Canadians, they are like flies round crap in London. Jake lived there for a few months once.

  5. The 2 nicest people i have ever met are from Canada, but am yet still to meet them! Must do that once i leave Brazil, or go on Vacations! Have this nut to crack first though before i go anywhere - Me being in Brazil is a fight to be with my Partner...FUN!

    And Orangegoblin, Your right, its to risky!!

  6. "Flies round crap!" LOL CRAIG!!! You crack me up!! I nearly sprayed my computer screen with my soda after reading that one!!!

  7. I never knew about the UK asylum thing. Interesting.

    On another note, I'm sure you guys are already aware of it, but I just saw this in the news:

    A U.S. judge in Boston has ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional

    I'm no expert in politics, so I don't know just how major this is, but it at least sounds like a pretty big deal. If it sticks anyways

  8. Interesting article Craig. Giving asylum to gay people living in other countries is definitely of the utmost importance. The conditions that many gay people have to live under in developing countries are unbelievable and terrifying (just look at Uganda!). As was commented up above, sure there will be people who pretend to be gay to gain asylum in the UK and other countries, but there will also be some refugees who actually are gay and will have their request denied. This happened about four or five years ago when a gay man from Mexico was denied refugee status here in Canada because he was, get this, not gay enough!(read: not effeminate enough). Whoever made this decision really needs to get out more. I'm not sure what happened to his case, whether or not he was successful in appealing the immigration board's decision. Hopefully he was.