LGBT asylum - useful information & organisations


The national UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group website has detailed information about the UK asylum system and procedure. They also run monthly asylum legal meetings in London where volunteer solicitors give general advice about the asylum process and where you can meet other LGBT asylum seekers.  Alternatively, you can call their helpline on 020 7922 7811 – Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

The Right To Remain ToolKit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It 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.

Link to government guidance explaining how asylum interviews for claims made on the basis of sexual identity are to be conducted:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sexual-identity-issues-in-the-asylum-claim

Sexually explicit material cannot be accepted even if voluntarily submitted. Please see Government Asylum policy instructions dated March 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/410098/Asylum_Interviews_AI.pdf

Peter Tatchell Foundation website has guidance on the asylum process plus suggested contacts for country statements http://www.petertatchell.net/asylum/asylumadvice.htm


Organisations offering assistance or guidance to LGBT asylum seekers in the UK:

National

UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group http://uklgig.org.uk/
Website has information the UK asylum system and procedure. They also run monthly asylum legal meetings in London where volunteer solicitors give general advice about the asylum process and where you can meet other LGBT asylum seekers as well as speak to our members of staff in person.  Alternatively, you can call their helpline on 020 7922 7811 – Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.


Persian LGBT Advisory Services (Birmingham but offer support UK wide)
http://www.persianlgbt.org.uk/  https://www.facebook.com/PLGBTA
Persian LGBT Advisory Services is an Asylum and Refugee support group organisation which provides support and assistance to Persian speakers such as Afghan,Tajikistan and Iranian Asylum seekers here in the UK.

Manchester

First Wednesday
http://firstwednesday.lgbt/what-we-can-can-t-do
Meetings of the First Wednesday group take place at the LGBT Foundation from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on the first Wednesday of each month. Offer friendship, support and encouragement, and guidance on where you can receive further support.


Leeds


No Going Back http://nogoingback.org.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Going-Back/265474863563532?fref=nf aims to ensure liberty, equality and justice for LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. We are here to provide legal representation to LGBT asylum seekers in the UK, who have fled their country because of their sexual orientation.


Reach Out http://www.reachoutleeds.org/
ReachOUT meets every first and third Tuesday of the month in central Leeds. The purpose of the group is to create a safe space for LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers to come and make friends, develop a sense of community and boost confidence by learning new skills through capacity building activities.


Newcastle


Rainbow Home – LGBT Asylum Seekers Group
http://www.mesmacnortheast.com/2013/10/rainbow-home-a-new-lgbt-asylum-seekers-group/ 
Rainbow Home is an LGBT Asylum Seekers Group run jointly by MESMAC North East and Northern Lights (Metropolitan Community Church
http://www.northernlightsmcc.org.uk/ ). The group is a lunchtime social and support group for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people who are seeking asylum in the UK or who have not yet settled here. The group runs the 3rd Friday of the month. The group offers a safe space, integration, motivation, friendship, belonging, confidence, inspiration, a place to feel at home, a space for family and free vegetarian food.


Midlands

Nottingham - lesbian Immigration Support Group
http://www.nottinghamwomenscentre.com/lesbian-immigration-support-group/
Meet monthly at Nottingham Women’s Centre

Birmingham LGBT centre
We can support you to access the services and activities at the LGBT Centre, including emotional support. You can also arrange an appointment to see a fully trained and experienced advisor on LGBT asylum and immigration. We hold an advice ‘surgery’ once a month, on the third Wednesday, with an advisor from UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG).

Journey MCC Asylum Social Group
http://blgbt.org/asylum-seekers/ Journey MCC Asylum Social Group is an inclusive social & support group for LGBT asylum seekers, providing a safe, welcoming space in the heart of Birmingham


London

Out and Proud Diamond Group – Africa LGBT
http://www.opdg.org/
Members represent a wide cross-section of African countries including Gabon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi , Uganda and Jamaica. Working to promote equality for LGBTI persons in Africa and other countries where LGBTI persons are persecuted


Rainbows Across Borders - Croydon
http://www.rainbowsacrossborders.org.uk/
Rainbows Across Borders is a voluntary self-help group for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution of oppressive homophobic/transphobic regimes. The group is based in Croydon.


Scotland

Scottish Refugee Counci
l has information and advice for LGBT asylum seekers on its website at the following link:
http://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/how_we_can_help/i_am_a_woman/lgbt_lesbian_gay_bisexual_transgender


Wales

http://www.unityproject.org.uk/no-going-back/
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.

Website links: 
Other links:

Lesbian Women In The Asylum System BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour 3 Feb 2014.
You can listen here - discussion starts 20 minutes into programme.
Programme details:
January 2014 a major new report was published by the charity Women for Refugee Women on the experience of female asylum seekers detained in Britain. Almost 20 per cent of those interviewed said they had fled persecution on grounds of sexual orientation. The research suggests lesbian women face a number of obstacles when claiming asylum in the UK - largely around “proving” their sexuality within a systematic “culture of disbelief”. We hear from Alice (not her real name), a 26 year old lesbian from Cameroon, who was detained in Yarl's Wood last year. To discuss the issues raised, Jane is joined by Natasha Walter, co-founder of Women for Refugee Women, and Tim Barnden, a lawyer specialising in asylum claims relating to sexual orientation and Chair of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.

Seeking Asylum in the UK: lesbian perspectives - Research by Claire Bennett & Felicity Thomas

The Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration's LGBTI Refugee Project Portal contains projects and approaches that enhance the protection of LGBTI forced migrants in the areas of refugee status determination, policy development and research, practical protection measures, durable solutions, and staff sensitization and development. The projects in this portal are drawn from many countries, and bring forward ideas and practices relevant to stakeholders across sectors and borders.