The crude and sinister irony of the UK Home Office’s Pride rebranding

It’s June and “pinkwashing” or “rainbow capitalism” is everywhere, meaning corporate logos are turning multicolored for Pride Month. But Britain’s Home Office redecorating its logo is an example of a spike in meaningless activism, as it continues to deport LGBTQI + asylum seekers to countries that are not safe for them.

The hostile environment policy, which began under Theresa May, continues to make life difficult and dangerous for gay refugees and asylum seekers. In 2019, it was revealed that the Home Office had refused at least 3,100 LGBT asylum claims, including people in Pakistan and Nigeria, where same-sex acts are punishable by life imprisonment and up to 10 years, respectively. ‘to 14 years in prison.

A gay man who was recently forced to flee his home country after being drugged and subjected to conversion therapy by his family is currently surviving on £ 6 per day while waiting for the Interior Ministry to process his request. Government agency already tried to expel Gay rugby player Ken Macharia in Kenya, a country where sex between men is illegal. It is also known from ask for evidence the sexuality of asylum seekers by providing photos or videos of sexual acts. Research conducted by the University of Sussex found that nearly 30 percent of asylum seekers on grounds relating to their sexual orientation had their claims rejected because investigators did not believe them.

“The Home Office wants us to believe that they are allies of the LGBTQ community, but the reality is that they put the lives of gay people in danger every day,” says Support for SOAS inmates, a group that works in solidarity with those affected by immigrant detention. The organization recently attempted to stop a flight it claims deported up to 30 people to Albania where, although same-sex acts are legal, same-sex couples do not enjoy the same legal protections as heterosexual couples. . The flight is operated by TUI UK, whose Twitter logo is also striped in rainbow colors, and which has been the main airline operating deportations in connection with ‘Operation Sillath‘, a pre-Brexit Home Office initiative to deport people who entered the UK via perilous Channel crossings.

“At its extreme,” SOAS continues, “it means detaining LGBTQ people in migrant removal centers like Yarl’s Wood, where they are at a disproportionate risk of abuse, and deporting them to countries where their lives are in danger. The pervasive threat of detention and deportation puts enormous psychological, physical and financial pressure on homosexuals with precarious migratory status. When it comes to people seeking asylum on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, the Home Office has had the final say on who is or is not homosexual. , setting increasingly difficult standards of proof that many people will never be able to meet. “

“If the Home Office really supported the queer community, they would celebrate Pride Month by canceling their Boundary Bill that will prevent LGBTQI + people from finding a permanent sanctuary in the UK, ”said Bella Sankey, Director of Detention Action, which works to support migrants in immigration detention. “They would also end their practice of indefinitely detaining LGBTQI + people who come to the UK seeking protection from persecution simply for who they are or who they love.”

While harming the community it claims to support through its rebranding of logo, the Home Office should instead listen to activists urging the government to deal with LGBTQI + people seeking asylum, in the thousands people risk imprisonment, torture and the death penalty in the sexual world. “We must be clear that the transparent pink of a rainbow flag on a government logo does not fool us: the Home Office is one of the biggest sources of violence in the lives of people. homosexual migrants “, adds SOAS. “There is no pride in the deportations. There is no pride in the borders.

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