Pics from Pride & Political Pride

We had an ace Pride weekend last weekend :-)

Saturday we marched through the city centre in the Pride parade, joined by our friends from Freedom from Torture and Action for Trans Health. Some of our members commented they just couldn't believe there were gay and lesbian police officers marching openly in the parade.

Parade over, some of us went to the Pride festival and others popped to the Joyce Layland Centre for the Political Pride events.

Then on the Sunday we had a stall at Political Pride, where volunteer Kelly entered her 'Let them eat cake' rainbow Theresa May cake in the cake comp


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?


BBC Womans Hour - interview with Mahya

For Refugee Week BBC Woman's Hour featured interviews with some fantastic, inspiring women.

There was a moving interview with Mahya, a young lesbian woman who's afraid to return to her native Iran, a country where homosexuality is illegal. 

You can catch it online here:


Our conference - July 9th Manchester - From Silence to Solidarity, Violence to Visibility

From Silence to Solidarity, Violence to Visibility
9 July 2015

Brooks Building, Manchester Metropolitan University,
                                       Bonsall Street, Manchester M15 6GX

A one day conference exploring how to meet the challenges faced by bisexual and lesbian asylum seekers in the UK.

We want to share our history and experiences through talks, workshops and discussions to encourage other organizations and groups to set up support across the country.

Keynote speaker: Keelin McCarthy (Barrister, Lamb Building)

Workshops and short panel sessions led by LISG, ReachOut Leeds, No Going Back, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) that address questions such as:
  • How to support lesbian and bisexual asylum seekers going through the asylum process?
  • How to support lesbian and bisexual asylum seekers in detention?
  • How to work together in campaigning?
  • How to fundraise to support lesbian and bisexual asylum seekers?
  • How to evidence sexuality in asylum cases?
Book your ticket via our Eventbrite page

We have some money available to cover travel costs for asylum seekers to attend. Please contact us to arrange a train or coach ticket, email:  lisg.conference@yahoo.co.uk

There will be some entertainment after the conference and we will be going for drinks and dinner so please do stay on if you can.

Any queries, please email: lisg.conference@yahoo.co.uk


Today was the judicial review of Aderonke's asylum claim


Today was the judicial review of Aderonke's asylum claim. A long day in court 10am until 4.15pm. The outcome will not be known for another three weeks. We are all thinking of you Aderonke.

Such a fantastic turn out of support for Aderonke. Here are some photos of the day (2 pics courtesy of Right to Remain).

Below is a link to The Independent's article on the day's proceedings, highlighting the Home Office's use of outdated stereotypes about lesbian and gay people.

Channel 4 News Yarl's Wood undercover investigation


If you missed Channel 4 News Yarl's Wood undercover investigation then check out their website - link below.

Many LISG members have been locked up in Yarl's Wood detention centre, not knowing when they will be released.
Which country locks up female asylum seekers including pregnant women, who have fled rape, torture, gender violence in their country of origin? The UK!! Guarded by male private security guards.

"Headbutt the b***h. I'd beat her up." - Yarl's Wood employee



Thirsday 12 March - join us for a spoken word & performance evening at Bangkok Bar

LISG & Freedom from Torture are holding a spoken word and performance evening, Thursday 12 March, Bangkok Bar, free entry. Hope to see you there.
We'll also have some fab 'Africa' inspired earrings, bags and other accessories for sale.


Great day at LGBT History Festival, Manchester People's History Museum

We popped down to the LGBT History fest last Sunday 15th Feb to support LISG volunteer Prossy Kakooza as she gave a talk about her life in Uganda and her experiences seeking sanctuary as an LGBT refugee.

Prossy highlighted that she and girlfriend Leah were perceived to be just friends, but when it was discovered they were actually in a loving relationship, they were both imprisoned. Prossy’s mum helped her to flee to safety in the UK. However despite overwhelming evidence, she was initially refused sanctuary, and she was subjected to some crazy questioning by the UKBA – ‘'Why did you decide to be gay in a country where it's illegal to be gay?' Her asylum refusal letter stated that 'she didn't look like a lesbian, she's too feminine'. After a lengthy appeal process she was eventually granted refugee status, and has rebuilt her life here.  

We also loved watching LISG member Jacqueline singing with the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus. They sang ‘Bread and Roses’ from the film Pride about the lesbian & gay activists who supported Welsh coal miners in the 1980s when their livelihoods were threatened. The Choir also performed Pokarekare Ana, a traditional Maori song which was sung spontaneously in April 2013, by members and spectators in the New Zealand parliament after the bill legalising same-sex marriage was passed. The choir sounded amazing, and a fantastic end to a great day.

Well done both :-)


LGBT History Fest Sunday 15th Feb - People's History Museum

We’re popping down to the People’s History Museum this Sunday 15th February to support  LISG volunteer and social justice campaigner Prossy Kakooza as she talks about her experiences claiming asylum of the basis of her sexuality. She is speaking as part of the first National Festival of LGBT History.

Here is a low down on our picks of the day. Hope to see you there:

Festival theme: Exporting homophobia

In the 1800s, the British Empire stretched across two thirds of the world.  Britain exported laws banning same-sex relations to its colonies which still impact on LGBT lives around the world today.

12:20-12:50 (Coal Store) Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell discusses Britain’s colonial legacy. He will look at the relationship between racism & heterosexism in the colonial era and the on-going impact of Britain’s exported homophobia worldwide

14:50-15:10 (Coal Store) LISG volunteer and social justice campaigner Prossy Kakooza will talk about how she rebuilt her life in the UK after experiencing abuse and torture in Uganda. Many LGBT people like myself run from persecution to seek asylum in nations like the UK thinking they’ll immediately be safe. But most times seeking asylum makes you enter what feels like another form of persecution with having to prove your sexuality to the immigration system. When I asked for asylum, on many levels, it felt like jumping from a frying pan into a fire. In a series of such intrusive and embarrassing questions, I was asked to prove I was gay. How on earth was I or anybody else supposed to do that?!”


Festival theme: lesbian women and social justice activism

From Votes For Women to the Greenham Common peace camps, lesbian women have been at the forefront of movements for social change.

11.30 – 12pm Sheila Standard (in Changing Exhibition Space) discusses her experiences at Greenham Common, a personal reflection of one of thousands of women discovering the power of working together, singing, being silly, the wit and repartee, fear and bravery, that goes with bringing fences crashing down, to the mockery of militarism. A women’s movement that conflicted and then embraced sexuality, and stood up to the hateful press, and “respectable society”, embracing freedom, and our right to struggle against the holocaust.

2pm – 2.30pm Dr Sonja Tiernan (Coal Store) will explore the lives of Esther Roper and Eva Gore Booth. This formidable lesbian couple who lived together in Rusholme from 1890s and who defended working class women’s rights including those of mill workers, barmaids and flower sellers. They also established Urania, a pioneering covert journal on gender and sexuality.

People’s History Museum foyer - LISG volunteer Jenny White has put together a display on the lives of Esther and Eva. Also on show is Oly Bliss’s Equality Quilt celebrating the passing of Equal Marriage legislation (textile artist Oly helped us make the LISG pride banner last year)

2.00 – 2.30pm Dr Kate Cook (Archive space) will speak about her involvement in the 1990s struggles to end rape and about the involvement of lesbian feminists in the movement against violence against women and girls.

15:30-16:00 Linda Bellos (Coal Store) will explore some of her historic achievements. Actively involved in community politics since the mid 1970’s, she came out as a lesbian in the late 1970’s and joined the Spare Rib Collective in 1981. She helped organise the first Black Feminist and the First Black Lesbian Conferences. She argued strongly against the notion of a ‘hierarchy of oppression. In 1987, as Chair of the London Strategic Policy Unit, she was responsible for introducing Black History Month to the UK. She has become a leading authority on equality and human rights law and its practical application across the public sector.


Women for Refugee Women - I Am Human report

*Today Women for Refugee Women launched their I Am Human report exploring the experiences of women detained in Yarl’s Wood.*

It reveals that despite Home Office denials, women are routi
nely watched and searched by male staff in the detention centre.

Many LISG members have been detained at Yarl's Wood, and live in fear of being returned there.
The report is available on the Women for Refugee women website:
The report was launched at the National Refugee Women’s conference 'Set Her Free'. Check out the coverage of the conference in the Guardian.


14 January- National Refugee Women’s Conference on campaign against detention

*14 January 2015 - National Refugee Women’s Conference on the SET HER FREE campaign against detention*

Venue - the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, London EC2A 3EA, 10.30 to 4pm

Hear from inspirational speakers including:

Meltem Avcil, ex-detainee and campaigner;
Nimko Ali, anti-FGM campaigner; Diana Nammi, campaigner against honour killing and Woman of the Year at the Women on the Move Awards, Zrinka Bralo of the Migrant & Refugee Communities Forum
For more information and booking details, visit the Women for Refugee Women website: