The UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) has been awarded £5,000 from the National Lottery for its work with LGBT asylum seekers.

UKLGIG began to focus on the problems faced by lesbian, bisexual, trans and gay asylum seekers in 2004.

It has received reports of them being harassed, humiliated and forced into extreme isolation.

The grant is from the lottery distributor Awards for All. It will be used to help UKLGIG volunteers visits LGBT asylum seekers in detention centres.

Homosexuality remains illegal more than 70 countries.

Many gays come to UK to avoid prosecution, torture and even the death penalty due to their sexual orientation.

However, the situation they face in detention centres may be as dire as the one they faced at home.

According to UKLGIG executive director Sebastian Rocca, the detention system does not take into account the needs of LGBT asylum seekers.

“Trans men are being detained in Yarlswood – a female-only detention centre,” he said.

“Gay men are forced to live with other detainees from their country of origin who often hold the same homophobic views as the society they are escaping from.”

UKLGIG was founded in 1993 to assist same-sex, bi-national couples to win the right for foreign partners to remain in UK on the basis of their relationship.

From 1997 the group achieved increasing steps towards equality and with many of its recommendations being included in the Civil Partnership Act.

Immigration equality for same-sex partners was finally achieved in December 2005.

The group is receiving more and more calls for help from lesbians and gay men seeking the protection of the UK, because they are persecuted in their home country.

There is currently very little support available for them and the group’s asylum seeker project is a vital lifeline for these refugees.

UKLGIG offers them a place to meet others struggling with similar issues and a source of legal advice and support.