The UK’s Home Office has come under fire for refusing the application of a Nigerian lesbian, arguing that she couldn’t be a gay since she has children.
Aderonke Apata, a 47 year-old Nigerian woman appeared at London’s High Court to challenge the Home Office’s refusal to grant her asylum. She supplied the court with a DVD and photographs of her and partner Happiness Agboro as evidence of her sexual orientation.
However, Home Secretary barrister Andrew Bird argued that though Apata had “indulged in same-sex activity” she was “not part of the social group known as lesbians” as she has children from a previous relationship.
“You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race,” said Bird.
Abid Mahmood, Apata’s barrister, accused the Home Office of holding “highly offensive… stereotypical views of the past”.
“Some members of the public may have those views but it doesn’t mean a government department should be putting these views forward in evidence,” he told the hearing, reports The Independent.
Since arriving in the UK in 2004, Apata became an outspoken LGBT activist, and was flanked by fellow activists who appeared the High Court to support her claim.
“The Home Office has treated me badly from day one. Staying in Britain means staying safe, staying with my partner and continuing my campaigning, ” Apata said after the hearing.
A petition to overturn the decision and grant Apata refugee status has, so far garnered almost 29,000 signatures.
A ruling on the case is expected at the end of the month.
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