A Nigerian LGBT activist has been denied asylum in the UK as the judge doesn’t believe that she is a lesbian.
Aderonke Apata faces deportion after a High Court judge threw out her case, ruling that she faked her sexuality just to gain asylum – even after providing a sex tape of her and her partner to the Home Office.
Apata was an outspoken gay rights activist in Nigeria before moving to the UK in 2004, where she continues her campaigning. She says that she faces imprisonment or even death if she returns to the African country.
Apata is engaged to Happiness Agboro, also from Nigeria, who has already been granted asylum on the basis of her sexuality. Apata has not been awarded the same rights as the Home Office believes she is not “part of” the social category of lesbians because she has children.
Home Office barrister Andrew Bird conceded that Ms Apata had “indulged in same-sex activity”, but is “not part of the social group known as lesbians” because she has children. “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race.”
John Bowers QC, who was sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, said “I find it difficult to disagree with the conclusions of the First Tier Tribunal that ‘she has engaged in same-sex relationships in detention in order to fabricate an asylum claim based on claimed lesbian sexuality’. I also accept the associated submission made by [the Home Office] that she has in effect adjusted her conduct so as to adopt other customs, dress and mores of a particular social group purely as a way of gaining refugee status.”
Apata would not comment on the ongoing case as she believes there are other legal avenues to explore.
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