The Home Office and MPs continue to condemn the treatment of LGBT+ Asylum seekers. Home Office barrister, Andrew Bird, rejected the appeal of Nigerian woman, Aderonke Apata, despite evidence of ‘same-sex activity’, because she had children, which therefore excluded her from ‘the social group known as lesbians’. He stated, “you can’t be a heterosexual one day and lesbian the next day-just as you can’t change your race”.
This obviously does not take into account that Aderonke grew up in a homophobic society where marriage and children were expected of her. Moreover, he considered being a lesbian and being straight as two supposedly exhaustive and exclusive poles, instead of entertaining the possibility of anything between these poles. The underlying point is that she wants to have a relationship with another woman, but fears for her life if she does this in Nigeria. Aderonke was willing to submit a sex tape because she was so desperate for asylum, so why can’t we help her? For a closer look into treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers check out this article published by Get Real.
Remember the viral photo of two women kissing in front of the notoriously homophobic Senator, Vitaly Milonov? Apparently it did not come without repercussions. A gay club owned by one of the women has now been shut down under allegations of the illegal sale of drugs and letting under-age people on site. Milonov commented, “I also have a good sense of humour. I will perhaps continue this joke by closing their gay club in St. Petersburg, or ban them from having meetings in public places, that’s also a funny step”.
It must be hard to continue fighting for your rights when the Government is so clearly corrupt and willing to hurt you in a very personal way. Milonov has called LGBT+ people ‘mentally ill’, and that living with such a person would be similar to living with a dog, horse or a sheep. Last October, he argued that Tim Cook should be banned from Russia after publicly coming out as gay.
Queerphobia is rife in Russia. The state has issued homophobic legislation with its focus on ‘propaganda’ and public appearance, even taking bizarre and unjustifiable stances against transgender people. Now, Kazakhstan has followed with ambiguous legislation along very similar lines: a bill has been passed banning ‘non-traditional sexual orientation’. Politician, Aldan Smayil, stated: “the information space is now filled by those who misinterpret freedom in their favour, i.e. with those who use the freedom not for the benefit of society and the people, but for selfish interests and sometimes criminal activities”.
Essentially, you are free insofar as we say you are free, and if you use your privileged freedom we will take it away from you. Why even have freedom of speech in the first place? I guess it would spoil the fun of all these queerphobic bills if people weren’t allowed to do it in the first place. In the same sentence, the bill also bans ‘cruelty and violence’, and ‘life-threatening acts’. Kazakshatan’s queerphobia is certainly not sugar coated.
Banks and police stations in New Zealand and Australia have been accused of ‘pinkwashing’. Indeed, their windows certainly needed a good washing after the amount of pink paint that was thrown all over their premises by activists. Police had suspected that the bank, ANZ ,was subject to homophobic attack when their Pride-themed cash machine was vandalised. It was in fact ‘Queers against injustice’ complaining about the ‘commercialisation of the Pride Festival’.
Pride has become an incredibly commercialised event across the world with sponsorship by many businesses and politicians. I believe it is a really useful way to get support from large organisations that are starting to think about their ethics with regards to gay people; this is very important for how they choose to act and use their influence in countries where homophobia is rife.
Of course they have invested interest, but I do not really see a problem with showcasing your ethics. Nonetheless, it is awful if organisations are using this to distract people from controversial clients and transactions. Still, is vandalising their property really going to gain anything? It’s only going to make them more defiant: “a bit of paint won’t stop this #GAYTMNZ looking fabulous for the Pride Parade. Great work on the clean up guys!”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Slovenia passes same-sex marriage
ISIS posts more pictures of (TW) throwing gay people off the top of a building, yet again to be stoned when they reach the bottom.
Elliot Fitzgerald (GR. Columnist)