Skip to main content

Asylum: LGBT People

Question for Home Office

UIN 27044, tabled on 5 July 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to proposals in the 2021 Queen’s Speech on reforms to the immigration system, what steps her Department is taking to (a) meet the specific experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and (b) ensure that LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are not penalised in their asylum applications in the event that they do not reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity immediately upon arrival in the UK.

Answered on

13 July 2021

The Home Office has and continues to work closely with a diverse range of organisations specialising in asylum and human rights protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people (LGBTQ+) communities, not only to facilitate the development of bespoke guidance and training products but also to further our work for LGBTQ+ within our asylum system.

We ensure LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are signposted to relevant NGOs specialising in the support of these individuals. This is done through an information leaflet given to all asylum claimants at the point of claim which includes sections on legal advice, additional help and assistance with links to relevant legal bodies and support organisations. LGBTQ+ asylum seekers can also access support from Rainbow Migration (formerly the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group), who provide both practical and emotional support for LGBTQ+ people including how to help improve their confidence and self-esteem and to reduce isolation.

The Home Office recognises discussing persecution may often be distressing and those seeking asylum are given every opportunity to disclose information relevant to their claim before a decision is taken. Our caseworkers are very mindful many asylum seekers come from cultures which shun any open expression or discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity. We recognise the intimate nature of disclosure set against the individual’s cultural background may have made it difficult for some to disclose and discuss their sexuality or gender identity with officials at a port of entry.

Where it appears a claimant has been in the UK for a prolonged period of time before either coming to immigration attention or voluntarily seeking protection, this will be explored with the claimant. Consideration will be given to any explanation offered for not seeking protection at the first available opportunity, or for not disclosing the issue of sexuality or gender identity as a claim basis at the first available opportunity. Adverse inference however will not solely be drawn from someone not having immediately identified their sexual or gender identity as a basis to their claim.

Answered by

Home Office