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Bisexual Asylum Seeker Avoids Deportation To Jamaica - VIDEO

Oraisha edwards

Orashia Edwards, a bisexual Jamaican man who says he faces danger in his native country because of his sexuality, learned on Tuesday that he will not be deported from the U.K.

Homophobia remains a major issue in Jamaican society.

The case for a judicial review of Home Secretary Theresa May's decision was thrown out by a judge in Leeds.

In his written judgement, Judge Clive Heaton QC said that Edwards was being dishonest about his sexuality.

According to Pink News, Edwards has been living in the U.K. for four years along with the rest of his family. He has a one-year-old daughter. Mr Edwards has not been in Jamaica for 14 years.

Speaking to the BBC after the verdict, Edwards said:

"This is my home, I feel safe here, my family and friends are here. I can't go back to Jamaica."

In a press release, activist organization Leeds For Change, which has claimed Home Office decisions behind asylum are prejudiced against LGBT applicants, said it “won’t stop fighting for Orashia to stay here in Leeds with us, his family and the LGBT community. An application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Orashia will be issued shortly.”

All claims of bias in asylum applications have been denied by the government.

Edwards learned Tuesday that he will now not be deported from the U.K. A spokesperson from the Home Office refused to comment on the change in its decision.

Edwards is today in court submitting new evidence.

Watch State Of Limbo, a short documentary about the Edwards case, and a follow-up interview prior to the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bisexual Asylum Seeker Avoids Deportation To Jamaica - VIDEO" »


Prominent Ugandan Activist Seeks Asylum in U.S. Over Anti-Gay Law

John Abdallah Wambere — a prominent 41-year-old Ugandan activist — has applied for asylum in the U.S.. He appeared in the documentaries Call Me Kuchu and Missionaries of Hate and has worked for 14-years with Spectrum Uganda, a group working to “ensure the safety of [Uganda’s] LGBTI community, reduce stigma, assist LGBTI Ugandans under arrest, and educate about HIV.”

KuchuWambere arrived from Uganda on February 21, three days before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed off on his country’s new law punishing gay sex and the “promotion of homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

Wambere said:

“This has been a very, very difficult decision for me... I have devoted my life to working for LGBTI people in Uganda, and it gives me great pain not to be with my community, allies, and friends while they are under increasing attack. But in my heart, I know it is my only option, and that I would be of no use to my community in jail.”

Michael K. Lavers of The Washington Blade summarized Wambere’s affidavit thus:

Wambere in his asylum petition notes he has been threatened, evicted from his home and publicly outed as a gay man in several Ugandan newspapers (since 2005). He told reporters that he has also received anonymous death threats, been rejected by his family members, lost business and was unable to visit is 16-year-old daughter’s school because of his sexual orientation.

He says that several men attacked him in 2009 as he left a bar in Kampala, the Ugandan capital. Wambere notes he has been “repeatedly arrested for violation” of the Ugandan penal code that criminalizes “carnal acts against the order of nature, including homosexual behavior.”

He told reporters that several of his friends and colleagues have been kidnapped or arrested since Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law... (and also) said other LGBT Ugandans have either gone into hiding or left the country.

Lavers adds that Wambere "is believed to be the first Ugandan LGBT rights advocate to seek asylum in the U.S. since the measure took effect in February.”

In a statement, Allison Wright — a staff attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) — said:

“The United States can do two very important things. We can provide a safer harbor where brave Ugandan LGBT individuals can continue to speak out and work for change; and we can work to stop the export of prejudice, denouncing the efforts of Americans to spread homophobia in other countries.”

Call Me Kuchu — the documentary that Wambere appeared in — is about the 2011 murder of prominent gay Ugandan activist David Kato and its aftermath.


Nigerian Asylum Seeker Has Two Weeks To Prove She's A Lesbian Or Face Death: VIDEO

Apate_aderonke

Aderonke Apata (pictured above at right with her current fiancée) fled Nigeria 10 years ago when her family and girlfriend were murdered. Apata was sentenced to death for being gay. In fact, she has scars upon her head and back from where she’s been beaten and stabbed by boys in her community disgusted at her being a lesbian.

After having her pleas for asylum rejected twice by the United Kingdom, she now has just two weeks to convince the UK Home Office that she will be killed if sent back to Nigeria. In part, she has to prove that she’s actually a lesbian by enduring extensive, intrusive interviews about her sexual behavior (we’re talking questions about penetration, positions and what she does and does not enjoy in bed).

Apata says that some asylum seekers even go to the degrading extent of recording themselves having sex just to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are in fact gay.

On March 28th of this year, Home Secretary Teresa May announced that the UK asylum system will be reviewed and reformed so that questions focus on sexual orientation rather than behavior. But while that reform may help people in the future, there’s a petition asking the UK Home Office to grant her asylum now.

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Nigerian Asylum Seeker Has Two Weeks To Prove She's A Lesbian Or Face Death: VIDEO" »


Gay Former Saudi Diplomat Asylum Case Appealed

An update on the case of Ali Ahmed Asseri, the former Saudi diplomat who has been fighting to recieve political asylum in the United States since 2010

Asseri, who is currently living in Los Angeles, says returning to his home country would mean death. He claims that his one-time fellow Saudi consulate employees in LA followed him and, upon learning he was gay, began to harass him. They insisted he return to Saudi Arabia. Currently making a living as a part-time security guard, he sleeps on friends' couches. 

CNN reports on the status of his petition for asylum, which was initially denied by the Department of Homeland Security. It has since been appealed.

6a00d8341c730253ef013487437db5970cIt wasn't until this past February that Asseri was finally granted a hearing date for his appeal. At the court, the immigration officer offered him a deal to remain in the country permanently without possibility of asylum or a green card.

Additionally, he could never leave the country. When he rejected the offer, the immigration officer applied for another continuance, saying she needed to submit more documents in the two-year case. He is now looking at a new hearing date in 2015.

Today, Asseri barely makes ends meet as a part-time security guard. He lives on couches at friends' apartments in West Hollywood. His family has shunned him and his ex-wife won't allow him to talk to his son.

As unbearable as his life in limbo is, he says returning to Saudi Arabia would be a death sentence.

"There is no question," he says. "If you go back and say I am gay and proud and I don't believe in religion anymore. Under sharia law this is death. You will be happy if they kill you right away. "

Asseri says some of the blame about his current situation should be placed on politics.

Asseri had been convinced that Obama's stated commitment to gay rights would trump politics and keep him safe in the United States.

"When President Obama ran in 2008 I supported him. I cried for him, I encouraged my American friends to vote for him. Now I can't stand to watch him on TV," he says. "I'm angry. He said he supports the rights of gay people, so why is this happening to me?"

The Saudi embassy in Washington and consulate in Los Angeles did not return phone calls. The Department of Homeland Security declined comment, saying asylum cases were confidential.


News: Rob Gronkowski, Immigration, NASA, Asylum

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Nate Silver makes his prediction for the Super Bowl.

Robg6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d His team may not be competing in the Super Bowl, but Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski found himself partying shirtless in New Orleans.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d NASA says an approaching asteroid will be the largest object to ever come this close to Earth, but the mega rock won't zip by until later this month.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Harry Reid says immigration reform should include same-sex families: "If we have gay folks in this country who have children, or they come from some other place they should be protected just like any other child."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Ricky Martin lands in Oz.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Buzzfeed: The Dying Political Tradition Of Avoiding The Gay Question.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Britney Spears will not be playing Vegas.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Louisville, Kentucky, expands anti-discrimination protections for city employees.

Etch6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Inventor of the Etch A Sketch dead at 86.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Iowa Senator Matt McCoy wants to reduce the penalty for HIV-positive people who don't purposely pass the virus to their sex partners. "...someone convicted of intentional or attempted transmission of the virus could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison and face a $750 to $7,500 fine. That would put HIV in the same criminal category as transmitting any other communicable disease, such as Hepatitis C."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Report: Gay UK asylum seekers frequently required to prove sexuality: "(Lecture) will detail the extraordinary methods to which individuals are resorting – including filming themselves having sex – to justify requests for refuge."


Mexican Gay Man Granted Asylum in The U.S.

After considering evidence that Jorge Soto Vega "was beaten by police with a 'metal baton or flashlight' and then robbed, called 'anti-gay slurs' and told that he would be killed if he was ever seen again" while living in Guadalajara, a U.S. immigration judge has granted Soto Vega asylum. He has been living in the U.S. since being smuggled into the country in 1988, according to the L.A. Times.

GuadalajaraSoto Vega had applied for asylum once before, in 2003, but was turned down by judge John D. Taylor "who said he could return to Mexico since 'it would not be obvious that he was homosexual unless he made it obvious himself.'"

Jon W. Davidson, legal director at Lambda Legal, told the LAT that at the hearing on Tuesday, which was once again held in front of judge Taylor, "the judge agreed that a person should not have to conceal his or her sexual orientation in order to be free from persecution."

Davidson told the Associated Press: "It seemed to us this is a real double standard. Courts don't deny asylum to someone based on their political beliefs by saying, 'If you just didn't tell other people what you believed, you would be fine.'"

Said Soto Vega following the decision: "It's been a long, long wait to get to this point where I feel today, secure and happy."

Citing persecution, judge grants gay Mexican immigrant asylum in U.S [la times]
Gay Man From Mexico Wins U.S. Asylum [ap]

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