Gay Asylum Seekers Forced to ‘Prove’ Their Sexuality

UN FlagsSeptember 25, 2014 – Reported by – In the summer of 2001, Ugandan police arrested a series of gay men in Kampala, and beat them until they exposed other gay men in the capital. As a result of the crackdown on the gay community, John Bosco, who worked in currency trading at a local bank, heard his name in a police bulletin on the radio. He immediately fled to the countryside, where he spent three months subsisting on bread, only venturing outside to use a shared toilet at night. Too afraid to withdraw his savings from the bank because he would have to show identification, he sold his car and eventually made his way to the UK with just a pair of gym trousers, a T-shirt and a photo of his boyfriend.

When he reached British soil, Bosco assumed his nightmare was over. In reality, though, the long, arduous process of claiming asylum as a gay man would present a series of new hurdles and just as much uncertainty. Immigration officials strip-searched him and detained him in a Portsmouth detention centre, where he lived alongside homophobic refugees from the Caribbean and Africa for four months. To test Bosco’s claim that he was gay, officials asked him a series of invasive questions. “Sometimes they’d ask if you had oral or anal sex, if you wore a condom, and if you watched pornography before having sex with someone,” he says. “It makes you feel worthless and disgusting, and you start to lose confidence in yourself.”

Bosco is not alone in his escape from a homophobic country, or in the treatment he endured upon arrival in Britain. The United Kingdom has recognised asylum claims based on sexual orientation and gender since 1999, offering hope to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people who live in the 81 jurisdictions around the world that currently criminalise consensual same sex acts. The death penalty remains on the books in five countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania – as well as in parts of Nigeria and Somalia…

via Gay Asylum Seekers Forced to ‘Prove’ Their Sexuality.

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