Getting out and about, new Manchester Law Centre and updated Right to Remain Toolkit

We've had a busy start to 2016.

In January we were invited to Poynton High School diversity day to talk to students about LGBT asylum.

February we visited a new lesbian asylum support group which has been set up in Nottingham, the group details are here http://www.nottinghamwomenscentre.com/lesbian-immigration-support-group/

Then at the end of March we popped to Liverpool to talk to founders of a new LGBT Asylum and Refugee Support Group. You can follow them on twitter here

We often get requests for assistance from people around the country, so it is fantastic that these new local groups are there to offer support. Please see our links page for information on other support groups around the country. 

We are really exited to hear about the Greater Manchester Law Centre steering group, a soon-to-be law centre offering free, high-quality legal advice and representation for our communities. This is fantastic news after law centre provision being lost across Manchester because of recent austerity cuts and access to legal aid severely curbed. The next GMLC supporters and members group meeting is next Tues 26 April, 6.30pm at the Mechanics Institute, Manchester - more info here 

It's great news that one of our refugee members has been selected to attend a LGBT refugee football event in Paris in June :-) 

An updated version of the fantastic Right to Remain Toolkit has recently been published. This step by step guide to the UK immigration and asylum system gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else.


Presentations from our 2015 conference now online

Last year we hosted Silence to Solidarity, a conference exploring how to support lesbian and bisexual women asylum seekers. 

We programmed some fantastic speakers, and have now published links to their presentations on topics such as detention, evidencing sexuality, and campaigning.

Here is a link to the resources: http://lesbianimmigrationsupportgroup.blogspot.co.uk/p/conference.html

Many thanks to the Edge Fund who made the conference possible.


Manchester Pride weekend - come check us out in the Parade Saturday & Political Pride Sunday :-)

It's Manchester Pride weekend!

We're looking forward to taking part in the Pride Parade tomorrow from 1pm. For the fifth year running our group and supporters are marching with Freedom from Torture a UK human rights organisation devoted to helping rebuild the lives of survivors of torture. This year's parade theme is 'devotion' & our parade entry is called:

***Saturday Parade - Devoted to justice for LGBT asylum seekers***
Both LISG and Freedom From Torture are devoted to: justice, sanctuary & safety for LGBT asylum seekers; & freedom to love.
Our members come from countries where homosexuality is illegal & many have experienced horrific abuse from community & family. Marching in Pride means a lot to us, as one member put it "seeing people cheering you on you feel like people are on your side, like life is worth living again". In the UK we can go to LGBT events without fear, but in our countries of origin we would face imprisonment and abuse.

***Sunday - Political Pride***

On Sunday we are taking part in Political Pride.
We have a stall in All Saints Park, do pop down and say hello :-).

Then at 3pm we are holding a workshop at MMU Business School (just by All Saints Park) highlighting issues faced by lesbian and bisexual asylum seekers - all welcome.

Political Pride offers a weekend of alternative events to take Pride back to its roots.  It starts immediately after the Manchester Pride parade and carries on all through Sunday.  Pop down to the LGBT Centre on Sidney Street, All Saints Park and the MMU Business School for workshops, discussions, performances and free family friendly fun.  

The programme aims to provide a platform for participants to explore the politics of Pride, and to identify and explore some of the most important issues for the LGBT+ community today.


Saturday 25 July, join us at resilience! Festival of Solidarity....

Saturday 25 July, join us at resilience! Festival of Solidarity....
...A family-friendly day of culture, art & music in a converted silk mill in Ancoats.



Conference programme - Silence to Solidarity - 9 July

A PDF version is also available at the following link to download.

Conference tickets are available at the following Eventbrite link


UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group http://uklgig.org.uk/
UKLGIG is a charity that promotes equality and dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people who seek asylum in the UK, or who wish to immigrate here to be with their same-sex partner. The UKLGIG website has a wealth of resources and guidance on the asylum system and procedure.  They operate a helpline 020 7922 7811 – Monday to Friday, during office hours

No Going Back (Leeds) http://nogoingback.org.uk/ We are here to provide support and legal representation to people who are seeking asylum in the UK because they fear persecution in their own country due to their sexual orientation. We offer them free legal advice for their asylum claims. We also commission experts to produce reports to help individual cases and to highlight problems in particular countries.

Right to Remain  http://righttoremain.org.uk/ Right to Remain is a national human rights organisation, working to build a strong movement for the right to remain in the UK. We work with groups across the UK supporting migrants to establish their right to remain with dignity, safety and humanity, and to challenge the injustice of the immigration and asylum system.

Keelin McCarthy (Barrister, Lamb Building) Keelin practises in all areas of asylum, immigration and nationality law, as well as related human rights, public, civil and family law. Keelin is an experienced teacher and regularly conducts training on asylum, immigration and judicial review for solicitors and law centres. She is a regular trainer on human rights law for HJT Training. She has recently lectured on unlawful detention, EU free movement, human trafficking, the rights and best interests of the child, and the Points Based System. http://www.lambbuilding.co.uk/members/profile.php?id=90


Well, next Thursday it's our conference, Silence to Solidarity .....

**Thursday 9 July - our conference - from Silence to Solidarity**

***Well, next Thursday it's our conference, Silence to Solidarity exploring how to support lesbian and bisexual women asylum seekers. We've had bookings from people from a variety of backgrounds and sectors and we're excited to meet everyone.***

If you're planning on coming please visit our Eventbrite link to book your place.

LGBT asylum seekers flee from persecution from community & family members as well as state officials and anti-gay legislation. Lesbian and bisexual women face an additional layer of gender discrimination in their countries of origin which influences their experience seeking asylum in the UK.

Many countries which outlaw homosexuality also subject women to extremely conservative codes of behaviour. There are incredible cultural, practical and financial barriers to women supporting themselves independently; they are essentially unable to exist safely in the community without the protection of a male relative.

It is not uncommon for women who are claiming asylum on the basis of being gay to have been married to men, and had children.  Having followed heterosexual rites of passage in their country of origin, once in Britain these women face enormous barriers to proving to civil servants that they are gay. But what choice did they have in countries where threatening family honour carries a real risk of harm, and there are no laws to protect women from forced marriage and marital rape.

Would you be gay enough for the Home Office? - check out The Mirror's online quiz 'Does the Home Office think you’re gay?' http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ampp3d/home-office-think-youre-gay-5280895

The sexual orientation of some women is not fixed. They may be bisexual, or they may establish a relationship with a woman late in life. Mary Portas was married to a man for 13 years and has two children, but is now in a relationship with a woman. If she was Ugandan and seeking asylum on the basis of sexuality would she be granted asylum?