Our exhibition LOVE IS NOT A CRIME on till 25 June, People's History Museum

Thank you to those who joined us People's History Museum for the launch of our 10 Year Anniversary exhibition LOVE IS NOT A CRIME

The exhibition is on until 25 June, on second floor. 
We've photos, a short animation, banners, and recordings on display, as well as information about the asylum process and why we left our countries of origin. 

More information at the People's History Museum website here:

Here are some pics of the opening night:

Over the past couple of months, two members have received leave to remain which is fantastic, for others the fight goes on. 


Highlighting issues around detention of asylum seekers before debate in parliament 14 March 2017

Tuesday 14 March there is a debate in parliament about the issue of detention of asylum seekers.  

We are trying to highlight issues around detention to MPs and any help is appreciated. Please contact your local MP to shine a spotlight on how detention is being used. 

This weekend has raised several issues.

A member of our group was given a due date of the end of March by the Home Office to submit a fresh claim for asylum.

On Friday 10 March she went to report at Dallas Court Salford as requested by the Home Office. 

From there she was whisked away without warning to detention at Pennine House Immigration Removal Centre at Manchester Airport, she was then transferred to Yarls Wood.

Despite having an appointment made for her by the Home Office to submit her fresh claim at the end of March, she was given removal papers to be deported 14 March 2017.

She asked several times for the staff at the IRC Pennine House to submit her papers for her (which can be done by fax when one is detained according to the .gov.uk website) and they did not.

She asked for a part 35 medical exam, due to her previous treatment and the experiences of LGBT people in detentions centres and was told that she could not have one. 

The information about what to do when in Pennine House is confusing. She was given papers which included "statement of additional grounds under section 120" however in a situation such as our member was in, reading the small (and it is small) print in a legal form which is written in legal and confusing language is obstructive. 

The Home Office have guidance on the situation in Uganda for Lesbian women, it is just not safe. The fear of being sent back and, being held in what can only be described as a warehouse, is inhumane. Holding individuals who are threatened with this action in an airport terminal, causes more anxiety. 

Our member has committed no crime, she filed her papers and reported to Dallas court as she was told to do, she followed the rules. The Home Office appear to be trapping individuals, by only allowing people to submit papers on a set date which is AFTER the date on which they would be deported. As our member has tried to submit papers the home office should have taken this notice of submitting a fresh claim more seriously.  

Detention is not the answer.

It is stressful and frightening time for the individual’s friends and supporters. For our member and her partner it was horrifying. 

Please also see this Asylum Information Database report (PDF), from page 77 which raises additional more general issues with detention


Latest news round up

We've had a busy start to the year, with some members receiving good news from the Home Office, but the fight for refugee status continues for others. 

This year we're marking our 10 year anniversary with an exhibition at the People's History Museum. We started workshop sessions at the museum in January to plan and design the exhibit, and record our stories.

19 January we popped to Poynton High School to and spoke to pupils as part of their Diversity Day programme.

February we had an ace time at Tod Disco, thank you so much for your support Women of Calderdale.

Yesterday Marline & Lilly spoke at the Sexing The Past conference of LGBT history in Liverpool, where one of the topics was how anti-gay laws introduced by Britain in 1800s across its colonies, still impact on LGBT people's lives today.


Latest news plus temporary capacity issues till new volunteers trained up

***Unfortunately we do not have capacity to accept new members at present***

A long standing volunteer has moved away from the area and we are just getting new volunteers settled in. We will post an update when the situation changes. 
In the meantime please visit the following page for details of LGBT+ asylum support locally and around the UK:   http://lesbianimmigrationsupportgroup.blogspot.co.uk/p/links.html 

Here's a quick round up of our latest news:

August: We had an ace time marching in the Manchester Pride Parade on August Bank holiday weekend. So great to hear all the cheers from the crowds :-)


The fabulous Women in Calderdale organised an afternoon tea as a fundraiser for LISG. We had a great afternoon and met some lovely women, thank you so much :-)

We also had a fantastic time at the Urban Heat fundraiser at Tribeca - again thank you so much for organizing B :-) 

In October UKLGIG and Stonewall  published a new report on the experiences of LGBT asylum seekers in UK immigration detention centres. Over the years a number of our members have been in and out of detention centres before they were eventually granted asylum. The report, called NO SAFE REFUGE is available for download: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/sites/default/files/no_safe_refuge.pdf 

Next year *10 years of LISG! Exhibition in 2017 at People's History Museum*

Next year marks the 10 year anniversary of Lesbian Immigration Support Group. Yep 10 years of working with wonderful women from around the world as they fight to gain sanctuary in the UK. In that time there have been changes in the law, in government, in attitudes to asylum seekers, in visibility of LGBT+ asylum seekers.
We'll be celebrating our decade of existence in a community exhibition at the People's History Museum, Manchester, as part of their Heritage Lottery funded Never Going Underground programme about LGBT+ activism. Watch this space for more info http://www.phm.org.uk/whatson/never-going-underground-the-fight-for-lgbt-rights/


News round up - Happy in Paris, Human Dignity Trust report

As always it's been a busy few months. Some members of our groups have had asylum interviews; some have had good news; some have had rejection ... Recently one member had her asylum interview - nearly 300 questions in all. The woman interviewer appeared so young & our member felt it was such a strange experience being interviewed by someone who could be her little sister. Earlier this year it was reported that gap year students are being employed by the Home Office to make life or death decisions on asylum.

Here is a round up of what else we have been up to.
At the end of April ...
...volunteer Marline attended Right to Remain's Migrant Solidarity Networking North  It was great to hear what other groups are up to and make new contacts, and we're arranging for Right to Remain to come and deliver some training with us.
...we were very kindly given a number of free tickets to Sh!t Lesbian Disco, and had an amazing night with hundreds of other lesbian and bisexual women

May saw the release of a new report by Human Dignity Trust highlighting persecution faced by lesbian & bisexual women, echoing experiences of our members. The report emphasized that lesbians and bisexual women face human rights abuses due to the combination of thir gender and sexuality, and that it is illegal to be lesbian in almost a quarter of the countries in the world.  

In May Sarah kindly let us run a raffle at her open mic night Gaslight at the Nip & Tipple, and we raised £150 towards costs of going to Black Pride.

In June we were given free tickets to see Clare Summerskill's new play Rights of Passage about the experiences of LGBT asylum seekers. We found it moving and inspiring, thank you Clare 

June saw the horrific murders in Orlando, a number of us attended the vigil in Manchester's gay village. Prossy appeared in a short video for BBC online about why gay clubs are so important to LGBT people.

Also in June, Happy spent a week in Paris at the Football for Freedom event for LGBT refugees which was organised by Les Dégommeuses women's football team. Happy attended workshops, took part in a refugee football tournament, and visited a local secondary school who's just done a project on asylum and refugees, and basically had a brilliant time. Thank you Les Dégommeuses !

We went to an ace event at Salford University for refugee week organised by the Social Work department

July, we went to Pride and Black Pride, wow it was amazing, and great to see the London Mayor Sadiq Khan at Black Pride

Then after last week's monthly meeting at the Pankhurst Centre we popped to check out the Sparkle transgender celebration in the gay village, and met Manchester's Lord Mayor


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.