United Kingdom Hub




British Rugby Star Zak Hardaker Says He’s Now 'A Better Person' After 5 Game Ban for Anti-gay Slur

Zak hardaker

British Rugby Player Zak Hardaker, who was punished with a five-match ban for calling a player a “f—king fag” in late May, says that his suspension and subsequent work with the LGBT community has made him “a better person now.”

Attitude reports:

Hardaker recently asked to train with the LGBT rugby team The Manchester Canalsiders, and says he has “learned what you can and can’t say” from the experience.

“I try to enjoy myself and live life to the full,” said the 22-year-old player. “Along the way you learn new things and this is one of the lessons I have learned. The Canalsiders have been terrific and at least some good has come out of what happened.”

He continued: “They recognised it was just a heat of the moment comment and I am really thankful for their support. I think it has helped to raise certain issues, including the profile of the club, so that’s great. I have learned what you can and can’t say and how it affects different people.”

Earlier this week, Hardaker also met with other members of Manchester's LGBT community to learn about the impact of homophobia.


British Rugby Player Banned Five Matches for Homophobic Slur

Hardaker

British rugby player Zak Hardaker was punished with a five-match ban for calling a player a "f--king fag" in late May, the Daily Mail reports:

The 22-year-old England international was also fined £300 by a Rugby Football League independent disciplinary tribunal which sat for almost four hours in Leeds.

Hardaker, who was represented by his club's legal team, was charged with a grade E offence, which carries a suspension of between four and eight matches, after his offensive comments were spotted on television during Leeds' 24-6 defeat by Warrington 11 days ago.

Hardaker last week issued an apology for his comments, admitting he used inappropriate language and insisted they were aimed at Warrington captain Michael Monaghan, rather than referee James Child, which appeared to be the case.

Following the punishment, Hardaker tweeted:


Gay Couples Can Now Marry in Russia...as Long as It's at the British Consulate

Gay couples can now marry at British consulates in more than 20 countries, including Russia, where same-sex marriage is outlawed, The Independent reports:

BritembassyThe Foreign Office has opened the doors of its missions to British nationals and their partners who wish to wed but are unable to under foreign laws.

Chris Bryant, the former Foreign office minister and openly gay Labour MP, said he hoped the move would be "celebrated" in countries like Russia where homosexuals face prejudice and persecution.

The countries include Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam.


United Kingdom Deporting Lesbian Mom To Face Possible Beatings, Imprisonment, Death In Uganda

Asaba_AidahA young Ugandan woman who fled her home country after being persecuted, beaten and raped because she is a lesbian will be deported from the United Kingdom this Saturday, May 24, according to Gay Star News. Aidah Asaba, 27, came to the UK last October seeking asylum after life in Uganda became untenable. If deported, Aidah fears she will be killed. 

Aidah's hell first began at 22 when her mother caught her with her then girlfriend: 

‘That’s when the problems started. My family rejected me, calling me weak and evil. My father locked me in my room almost 10 hours and beat me with a stick and with his fists. Then he kicked me out of the house.

‘I went back to the university. After some time he called me to come back home and told me he had a man to marry me. He said I didn’t have a choice, if I refused he would disown me or take me to prison.’

Aidah did marry and her husband eventually found out about her sexual identity. He raped and beat her on a repeated basis. She eventually gave birth to a daughter, now four, whom she had to leave in Uganda when she fled for the UK. 

As a demonstration of the anti-gay blood-lust that awaits her should she be forced to return, Aidah recounted a time she received an ominous summons from members of her community:

Community leaders sent me a letter and demanded I come to a meeting to discuss my sexuality. They said I was recruiting young girls to be lesbians.

I have been to meetings like that before. I have attended some meetings where they just started beating people. There is no control.

Earlier this year, Uganda passed a bill that criminalized homosexuality, punishing victims with up to life in prison. A report has since shown that anti-gay violence has been on the rise since the law was passed. Local officials have also wasted no time enforcing the law with many individuals already face charges in court. Ugandan newspapers have even published the names of individuals suspected of being homosexuals, Aidah among them. 

UgandaGiven the state of affairs in Uganda, Aidah has very real concerns for her safety should she be forced to return. And though the UK has a policy of not deporting LGBT asylum seekers who would face certain persecution if sent home, Aidah’s deportation has for some reason been fast-tracked: 

It harmed her case with the UK Home Office that she didn’t go out to gay bars in Britain as they didn’t believe she was lesbian. But she told GSN she was traumatized from what had happened to her and from leaving behind her daughter so stayed in the house rather than partying.

In January she applied for asylum but just six days later she was arrested and put in to an asylum detention center near London's Heathrow Airport. 

You’ll recall we previously reported on accounts that surfaced of other LGBT asylum seekers in the UK facing ‘extraordinary obstacles’ in proving to the UK Home Office that they were in fact gay. Though Keith Vaz, Labour MP and chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, previously remarked that "It is absurd for a judge or a caseworker to have to ask an individual to prove that they are lesbian or gay, to ask them what kind of films they watch, what kind of material they read” and that "People should accept the statement of sexuality by those who seek asylum,” it seems that Aidah’s statement of her sexuality has not been accepted by officials handling her case.

You can sign a petition calling on the Home Office to cancel Aidah’s deportation HERE.

(Photo via Gay Star News)


Gambian President Threatens Gay Asylum Seekers: 'If I Catch Them I Will Kill Them'

6a00d8341c730253ef019affa50ef4970d-500wi

According to the APA, President of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh, who recently compared gays to ‘vermin’ and ‘malaria-infected mosquitos’ has accused Gambian citizens seeking asylum in the west of pretending to be gay so as to avoid having to return home:

“Some people go to the west and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia, in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe. If I catch them I will kill them” the Gambian leader warned.

According to him, the British authorities have realized the untruthfulness of those claims which people used as a strategy to stay in Britain.

He said, the British have decided to conduct a test on travelers claiming to come from The Gambia and information to confirm their sexual orientation. 

The “tests” Jammeh mentions may refer to reports that surfaced late last year that found foreign nationals seeking asylum in Britain on the grounds that they were gay and would face persecution at home often had to provide “proof” they were gay, with extreme cases showing that individuals handed over “photographic and video evidence of 'highly personal sexual activity.’”

Jammeh has a history of making anti-gay threats, previously warning homosexuals in The Gambia, “If we catch you, you will regret why you were born.” Jammeh also labeled homosexuality as “one of the biggest threats to human existence” in an address before the United Nations last year.


Activists Protesting Anti-Gay Law Disrupt Speech by Ugandan President in London

Uik_museveni

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke at a UK government forum last night at Lancaster House in London designed to promote UK investment in Uganda's economy, Ekklesia reports:

The opening of the forum saw President Museveni speak about trade and investment on the same day as the trial of two men charged with homosexuality starts in Uganda. The trial is the first since the new anti-gay law was passed earlier this year.

3_museveniMuseveni also spoke at the St. James Court Hotel where his speech was accompanied by "a constant background disruption" from a protest organized by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of STOPAIDS, the RMT union and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

"Foreign Office collaboration with the Ugandan government and support for the UK-Uganda Business Forum calls into question David Cameron’s commitment to tackling rising homophobia in Uganda and across Africa," according to the activists.

The demonstrators discussed the protest in a press release:

"It is hypocritical for the UK government to claim to be promoting LGBTI rights internationally and at the same time rolling out the red carpet for regimes like Uganda that persecute gay people," said Edwin Sesange, the Ugandan Director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group.

"The UK government should come clean on its progress with promoting gay rights in countries like Uganda that they host and collaborate with. At this early stage since the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) became law, it is questionable for Ugandan government ministers to claim that the campaign against the homophobic legislation has had no effect on the Ugandan economy and inward investment. President Museveni is more likely to attract foreign investors if he ensures good governance, financial probity and human rights. The AHA is a negative, which is turning off many would-be western investors,” said Mr Sesange.

Peter Tatchell (below, right), Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation, added:

“Gay people are not the cause of Uganda’s problems. The government of Uganda should fight poverty and HIV, not gay people. It is two-faced for the UK government to condemn homophobia while hosting President Museveni, whose government has legislated one of the world’s most draconian anti-gay laws. The Anti-Homosexuality Act punishes any form of same-sex contact - even mere kissing and caressing - with mandatory life imprisonment. Museveni is a tyrant who presides over a corrupt regime that is guilty of widespread human rights violations, including the arrest of opposition leaders, torture and the suppression of free speech. The UK government should not be drumming up business to sustain his autocratic rule."

(images via the peter tatchell foundation)

Tatchell


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged