The Lesbian Immigration Support Group is a Manchester, UK based group of lesbian and bisexual refugees and asylum seeking women and their supporters.

We offer practical and social support.

More about us ..

06/04/2014

8 April - Raise the Bar at Labels Soho

Hello Londoners

Tuesday 8 April pop down to Raise the Bar at Labels in Soho for an evening of music, & spoken word. 

Organisers Kisha DM, Claire Bennett & Trae Dud Smith aim to raise your spirits, and raise awareness of LISG. Entrance is free, donations are appreciated.

Claire Bennett's excellent research has highlighted issues faced by lesbian asylum seekers in the UK. Check out this article on her findings in The Independent. 






 

LGBT asylum - Channel 4 news coverage & Manchester City Council motion



March 2014 - campaigning outside Manchester
Town Hall to end detention of female
asylum seekers. 
Channel 4 news has been investigating what life is like for diverse LGBT communities in the UK, including the culture of disbelief faced by LGBT asylum seekers.

Check out clips from its LGBT season here, including an interview with LISG member & Movement for Justice activist Aderonke Apata. In the accompanying article LISG volunteer & human rights campaigner Prossy Kakooza highlights her experiences of the asylum system.

It's great that these issues are being highlighted in a public forum, and well done to Aderonke and Prossy for sharing their stories to help make a difference.


***

We're really happy that Manchester City Council has formally stated its commitment to tackling asylum seeker destitution & to supporting fair treatment for LGBT asylum seekers.  

Here's the wording of the 26 March motion in full:

"26 March 2014 - Asylum Seekers

Manchester has a long history as a welcoming and tolerant city to those fleeing persecution and the strong record of the Council in protecting and speaking out for the most vulnerable. Manchester and Greater Manchester have a large population of asylum seekers and refugees.

Worldwide, approximately 80 countries criminalise lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people resulting in persecution, imprisonment, and even death. The deteriorating situation for LGBT people in Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi has been heavily documented. Some of these LGBT people who have been tortured or imprisoned, flee to the UK for safety.

Reports from the Home Affairs Select Committee, Stonewall, The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group and leaked Home Office documents detail the culture of disbelief and inhumane treatment facing LGBT asylum seekers in the process.

Asylum seekers face a lengthy application process, poverty and homelessness. The Red Cross (2014) found that over 50% of Greater Manchester’s Asylum Seekers had been living in destitution (no access to public funds or housing) for over two years. Asylum seekers want to work to support themselves, but are not allowed to do so by the Home Office.

Often the financial burden falls on local authorities to support those with no recourse to public funds with little central government support.

This Council resolves to:

• Re-state our commitment in support of the fair treatment of LGBT people fleeing persecution and ensure that these values are shared by partners and funded groups working with asylum seekers.

• Write to the Home Secretary voicing concerns that the current application of the asylum process allows too many people to fall destitute and that responsibility needs to be more equally shared between local and national government.

• Sign up to the relevant sections of the Still Human, Still Here Campaign which includes faith groups, charities and a number of other Labour Councils such as Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Glasgow and Sheffield.

• Encourage all Manchester MPs to adopt this position and raise these issues nationally.

(Signed by Councillors Craig (proposer), Richards (seconder), Ollerhead, Karney,and Chappell)"
***

Check out the Still Human Still Here campaign blog here.

The council motion specifically mentions Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria.

This year Uganda passed harsh new anti-gay laws - life imprisonment for lesbians and gays and imprisonment for straight people if they do not report suspected gays to the police. Check out Channel 4 news coverage on including an interview with human rights campaigner and LISG volunteer Prossy Kakooza.

LGBT laws in Malawi are currently under scrutiny, with the UN assisting the Malawi Law Society's high court challenge to laws criminalising lesbians and gays.  In 2013, Mercy Kumwenda came out publicly as lesbian to raise awareness of issues faced by gay women; “People think that you are a witch, abnormal, satanic or you just want to make money but for me its inborn.... Leave lesbians alone. They are human being no matter what people say."

New anti-LGBT legislation in Nigeria includes a provision to punish with a jail term of up to 10 years anyone who operates or participates in gay clubs and organisations. Anyone who makes a public show of a same-sex relationship will also break the law and could face jail.

Over 75 countries criminalise same sex relationships. At LISG we have asylum seeker and refugee members from a number of countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Afghanistan and Kenya. Check out this Channel 4 infographic on gay rights around the world, from marriage to the death penalty.

It is not just anti-gay legislation that our members flee from - they face persecution from community and family members as well as state officials. They come from countries where there are no laws to protect women from forced marriage and marital rape; and there are incredible barriers to women living and supporting themselves independently.

 
 
 

28/03/2014

Join us Sunday 30 March BFI Flare LGBT Film Festival

 
 
Londoners - what you up to Sunday afternoon? We'd love it if you could pop down and support us at BFI Southbank..

This week it's BFI FLARE, London LGBT film Festival, there's an ace programme of diverse films and events.
 
On Sunday there's a screening of The Abominable Crime + Veil of Silence, two powerful documentaries about gay lives under threat in Jamaica and Nigeria.

LISG members Aderonke & Sylvie will attend the screening and then take part in a round table discussion on state of LGBT rights around the world. Do join them if you can, March 30, 4:20 PM, BFI Reuben Library, BFI Southbank. For more info check out the BFI website here

Many thanks to the BFI Flare crew for raising donations for LISG - the gravestones in the Haunted House set are being sold, and they've raised £90 so far from selling 4 of them.
 
REALLY APPRECIATED THANK YOU :-)

18/03/2014

Anderonke Apata - Returning to Nigeria is not an option for me - video & petition

Aderonke Apata
"Returning to Nigeria is not an option for me."





Click here to watch a short video of Aderonke explaining why she is seeking asylum in the UK. There's also a link to her petition to remain in the UK - we'd be really grateful if you could add your signature.

Anderonke is Manchester co-ordinator for Movement for Justice, an organisation raising concerns about the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK. Anderonke was recently interviewed by Black Feminists Manchester about her asylum case and work with Movement for Justice. You can check out the interview here.
 
Anderonke was recently nominated for a LGBT Positive Role Model National Diversity Award. You can cast your vote for her here.

Bookmark this page for progress updates on Aderonke's asylum claim, and a link to her petition.

Many thanks

 
 

14/02/2014

Tuesday 4 March - join us for spoken word, poetry & comedy



Join us for an evening of spoken word, poetry & comedy 


Tuesday 4 March 7pm - 9.30pm

Three Minute Theatre
Afflecks Arcade
35-39 Oldham Street

Manchester M1 1JG

Tickets £5 / £4 conc. All proceeds go to LISG and Freedom from Torture.

 
Fresh from performing at QueerContact, our host for the evening is the unstoppable Heena Patel.
 
Women across the world are routinely subject to violence and the threat of violence simply because of their sex and sexuality. From imprisonment and the threat of death for the act of loving another woman, to forced prostitution in refugee camps, women bear the brunt of many of the world’s prejudices and conflicts.

This night is about challenging that. This night is about the voices, the talents and the passion of women who refuse the silence.

Featuring: Cheryl Martin, Hafsah Bashir, Joy France, Kat Day, Keisha Thompson. Shamshad Khan, and contributions from the clients and members of Freedom from Torture and LISG

Many thanks to Commonword for organising this event, and to all the artists performing.

*****


If we speak we are afraid that our words will be used against us.
And if we do not speak we are still afraid.
So, it is better to speak knowing we were never meant to survive.

Audre Lorde, A Litany for Survival 
 

10/02/2014

Ruth Must Stay - petition for our member Ruth


Hello LISG supporters

We'd really appreciate it if you could sign and circulate the petition below for our member Ruth.

 https://www.change.org/petitions/theresa-may-please-give-ruth-refugee-status-on-the-grounds-of-her-sexuality 

Ruth is an active member of the Lesbian Immigration Support Group in Manchester, where she flourishes in an environment in which it is safe to express her sexuality, in short to be herself. If returned to Nigeria she is at serious risk of extreme harm, possibly even death.

25/01/2014

LISG member Jacqueline detained - please sign petition to support her release

 
LISG member Jacqueline was detained yesterday at Dallas Court signing centre by the UK Border Agency.
 
Jacqueline, who loves singing with Manchester Lesbian and Gay chorus, has had a claim for asylum refused and is preparing a fresh claim. We need to make a fuss to stop her being deported to danger in Uganda. As a known lesbian who been previously imprisoned in Uganda, Jacqueline is likely to suffer violence, imprisonment or even a threat to her life if she is returned. 

Please would you add your name to this petition:
 
Although Ugandan President Museveni recently blocked a proposed law to give life sentences to lesbians and gays, he clearly stated that he wants the abnormal condition of homosexuality cured, and recruits rescued. Gays and lesbians in Uganda still face prison sentences of up to seven years.

LISG volunteer Karen has been to visit Jacqueline in the holding centre. For the latest information on Jacqueline's detention, please visit our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lesbian-Immigration-Support-Group-LISG/265343636867848