New LGBT asylum guidelines

The government issued new guidance with regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender asylum seekers today in a document entitled: The Coalition: our programme for government.

The pledge stated:

We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or execution.

Welcoming this new commitment, OutRage! campaigners Peter Tatchell and Brett Lock who have worked on many LGBT asylum cases over the past 10 years said:

“The government’s commitment to give refuge to LGBT people who have suffered persecution is welcome but it must be backed up with detailed policy changes to make it effective.

“Asylum judges and Home Office barristers should be given advice and guidelines on how to treat LGBT refugees with sensitivity and fairness. Currently, they often exhibit great ignorance and misunderstanding.

“The frequent recommendation by judges that LGBT asylum applicants should return to their home countries and be discreet, should be declared impermissible by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. To expect LGBT refugees to hide their sexuality and cease having same-sex relationships is unreasonable and unacceptable,” said Mr Lock and Mr Tatchell.