Headingley Green Party

7 August 2015

Leeds Green Party in the Pride march

Above: Leeds Green Party join the march at Leeds Pride

Leeds Green Party marched at Leeds Pride on Sunday to promote the rights of LGBTIQ* asylum seekers in support of local charity No Going Back.

Leeds Green Party supported and marched in Pride, one of Leeds’ biggest events. Its activists and volunteers ran a stall raising funds and promoting No Going Back’s work providing advice to LGBTIQ* asylum seekers and campaigning to prevent their forced return to countries where they face imprisonment or death.

Homosexual acts are still illegal in over 70 countries, and punishable by death in five. Many people living in these countries seek asylum in the UK. Some fear persecution, others have experienced it. In 2010, a Stonewall report found that LGBTIQ* asylum seekers are often not believed, held in homophobic detention centres, and sent back to countries where they are in danger. Between 2005 and 2009, a staggering 98% of LGBTIQ* asylum seekers were refused at the initial stage, compared with 76.5% of all asylum seekers. See below for more info.

The Green Party "cake & politics" stall at Pride

Above: The Green Party "cake & politics" stall at Pride 

Stephen Lloyd, Leeds Green Party Pride coordinator said: “We were thrilled to be involved in Leeds Pride again this year, and it was great to share our plans and discuss LGBTIQ* asylum seekers’ rights with Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett ahead of the event. Pride provides a great opportunity to be thankful for how far LGBTIQ* rights have come but there is still much work to be done, and Leeds Green Party is 100% behind this. LGBTIQ* people still face discrimination and injustice at home and abroad, and this is something we must always fight. We were proud to be backing the charity No Going Back this year, to highlight the difficulties faced by LGBTIQ* asylum seekers.”

A few days before Green Party leader Natalie Bennett visited Leeds, seeing preparations for Pride and community campaigns and projects across the city, particularly those standing up for the rights and interests of vulnerable people. Bennett visited the Sunday School Tea Rooms, a cafe in Leeds which raises funds for No Going Back, and met the charity’s trustees, to find out about the charity’s work. Bennett was joined by Green candidates who stood in the May local and general elections, who across the city achieved a hugely increased vote-share.

Natalie Bennett commented: “No Going Back is a fantastic Leeds charity that's fighting for a highly vulnerable group of people, many of whom face the prospect of torture or death if they aren’t granted asylum. I’m really pleased to hear that Leeds Green Party is backing this cause at Leeds Pride and beyond. The Pride event is a great opportunity for the city to celebrate diversity and equal rights.”

Natalie added: “It’s been inspiring to visit such a fantastic range of community projects and charities across Leeds, and find out how Leeds Green Party is standing up for the interests of the city's diverse communities. As a party we believe firmly in equality and human rights, and in supporting the most vulnerable in society. Leeds Greens will continue to campaign year round on that basis, and I would urge anyone who shares our values in the city to get involved in their work and support the many community groups and charities helping people across Leeds.”

The Green Party LGBTIQ banner

Above: The Green Party LGBTIQ banner

Facts about LGBTIQ* asylum seekers

Homosexual acts are still illegal in over 70 countries, and punishable by death in five. Many people living in these countries seek asylum in the UK. Some fear persecution, others have already experienced it.

In 2010, a Stonewall report found that LGBTIQ* asylum seekers are often not believed, held in homophobic detention centres, and sent back to countries where they are in real danger. Applicants are expected to be able to prove their sexual orientation, and a lack of training by officials leads to an inconsistent and inappropriate approach, often focusing on extremely personal questions about the applicant’s sexual history.

Applicants can, and have been, refused asylum because they don’t go to gay bars, because they’re behaviour and interests aren’t deemed ‘gay’ or because they have had heterosexual relationships in the past. There is also a lack of recognition that homosexuality doesn’t need to be illegal in a country for it to be an unsafe place for LGBTIQ* people.

Between 2005 and 2009, a staggering 98% of LGBTIQ* asylum seekers were refused at the initial stage, compared with 76.5% of all asylum seekers. The Home Office has never released any data on the proportion of refused LGBTIQ* asylum seekers who are harmed or killed on their return.

The Green Party would:

  • End the detention of asylum seekers
  • Provide training for officials on gender and sexuality-related persecution
  • Improve claimants’ access to legal advice
  • End the ‘culture of disbelief’ in the Home Office, where asylum claimants are assumed to be lying unless they can prove otherwise
  • Reduce the need for LGBTIQ* asylum by working with international partners to end discrimination worldwide

For more info







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