This blog post comes from one of our members – Rainbow Migration
It’s Pride Month and people are rightly celebrating how far LGBTQI+ rights have come in the UK. But we shouldn’t let that progress blind us to the appalling treatment that still meets members of our LGBTQI+ community who come to the UK seeking safety.
We don’t know how many LGBTQI+ people are languishing in the UK’s immigration detention estate because the government fails to collect this data. But we do know one thing with certainty: LGBTQI+ people are not safe in detention.
Like others, they are detained without courts or judges, in prison-like conditions, and for an indefinite amount of time. Detention deprives them of their freedom and cuts them off from their communities and support networks. But it also puts them at risk of LGBTQI-phobic bullying, abuse and harassment inside.
LGBTQI+ people going through the asylum system in the UK have fled countries where violence and discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community is widespread. The harassment they face in UK detention centres is reminiscent of the persecution they have fled and can cause them to re-live their trauma. Many feel forced to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity to stay safe, which compounds their isolation and makes it harder for them to make their case to the Home Office.
This has to stop. In 2016 the government recognised that trans and intersex people are at greater risk of harm and should not be detained in most circumstances. But six years on we are still waiting for them to say the same for all LGBTQI+ people.
That’s why Rainbow Migration have launched our No Pride In Detention campaign, calling on this government to end the immigration detention of LGBTQI+ people and set a 28 day time for all detention. Until the government agrees to end immigration detention altogether and embrace community-based alternatives, these urgent changes are needed to limit the suffering it causes.
We’re working with a growing number of LGBTQI+ organisations to show that detention is an LGBTQI+ issue and our community won’t stand for some of its most marginalised members being locked up in places they aren’t safe.
If you agree that there is #NoPrideInDetention add your name today.