Freely and Openly

As an LGBTQ+ person you might have heard people say, “just act straight and everything will be okay.”  What they are saying is to deny who you really are and live a lie.

Well, seven years ago today the U.K. Supreme Court said that “gay” asylum seekers shouldn’t be returned home and forced to hide their sexuality. But today these individuals are still being deported from the UK and told to “act straight” when they are returned to their native nations.

On July 7, 2010, the British Court ruled that two men must be given refugee protection because of their sexual orientation. The court said that the men, since they were gay, risked serious harm if they were returned to their home countries of Iran and Cameroon.

Prior to this ruling, LGBTQ+ asylum seekers were not given refugee protection in that country but instead, they were returned to many hostile nations and told to hide their sexual orientation to avoid harm. In its ruling, the court saw this policy as a clear violation of the human rights of LGBTQ+ people.

The court said that “to compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist … is to deny his fundamental right to be who he is. … What is protected is the applicant’s right to live freely and openly as a gay man.”

What a powerful declaration of inalienable human rights.

Sadly, the UK continues to deport LGBTQ+ persons by use of a means test . . . individuals who face a risk of harm in their home country because of their sexual orientation can still be returned if the authorities decide that the person will “voluntarily choose” to hide their sexuality.

Excuse me, but what else are they going to do but to hide who they truly are!  Least, they are persecuted or worse killed, the deported are being told to deny themselves and be something other than who they are; to deny that freedom which should be every person’s birth right, to live freely.

As we here in America celebrate our 241st anniversary as a “free” nation, we need to be extremely and ever mindful that we as a people have constitutionally declared that the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are extended to all of humanity regardless of boarders.

To deny asylum to LGBTQ+ people from a nation where they are unsafe because of simply living their true selves is both Unamerican and inhumane.  To knowingly return someone to live a life of denial violates that person’s human rights and must not be tolerated, whether here or abroad.  All humanity must be able to live freely and openly

Click HERE to read this week’s issue of QUEERtimes Weekly

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