We will stop the deportation of asylum seekers who have had to leave particular countries because their sexual orientation or gender identification puts them at proven risk of imprisonment, torture or executionThere it is, clear as day, from page 18 of the Coalition Agreement. At the time, it was so reassuring to see. Under Labour, LGBT people had disgracefully been told to be discreet if their country of origin took a dim view of their sexuality. It was good to see in black and white that the Coalition, even with Tories in it, took the right, humanitarian approach.
Today the Guardian has a report that Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan lesbian, faces imminent deportation because a judge doesn't consider that there is enough evidence of homosexuality. I think it's a very worrying development if the judiciary starts to question someone's sexuality. I mean, how on earth do you prove something that by its very nature is private and relationships may have been conducted in secret? People may not be willing to give the names of partners for fear of them being persecuted. In this case, though, there is evidence both of a previous relationship and of persecution because of it.
Theresa May as Home Secretary has discretion to allow someone to remain here in compelling and compassionate circumstances. Do you get more compelling than a direct threat to you from an MP who wants to have LGBT people put to death as the Guardian reports.
I've written to Theresa May, e-mailing her on firstname.lastname@example.org asking her to use her discretion to allow Brenda to stay in the UK. It would be an outrage to deport someone to a country where a prominent gay rights activist has been brutally murdered only this week.
This is a big test of the Coalition's new policy and I want to see it pass with flying colours.