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Home Office claims asylum seeker can’t be a lesbian because she has children

Nick Duffy March 4, 2015

A High Court judge has delayed a decision in the case of a lesbian asylum seeker who is at risk of being deported to Nigeria.

Aderonke Apata’s application for asylum on the grounds of her sexuality was rejected last year, despite providing proof of former girlfriends in both the UK and Nigeria.

Ms Apata claims she is at risk of being deported to Nigeria, where homosexuals can be put to death.

During the High Court appeal, Home Office barrister Andrew Bird conceded that Ms Apata had “indulged in same-sex activity” – but claimed she was “not part of the social group known as lesbians” because she had children.

He told the court: “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day. Just as you can’t change your race.”

Ms Apata’s barrister Abid Mahmood attacked the claims as “highly offensive… stereotypical views of the past.”

He told the hearing: “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.

“There is evidence of the genuineness of her case, that she will be picked out as a lesbian if she is returned.”

Deputy High Court judge John Bowers QC has delayed a decision for three weeks, saying he would like time to go over all the arguments.

Speaking outside the court alongside her female partner, Ms Apata told the Independent: “The Home Office has treated me badly from day one. Staying in Britain means staying safe, staying with my partner and continuing my campaigning.”

The Home Office agreed to make a number of changes to the way that asylum claims from gay people are handled last year, after a report exposed several serious shortcomings. 

More: Aderonke Apata, Africa, asylum, barrister, case, England, Gay, Home Office, lesbian, LGBT, Nigeria, Nigeria, Rights

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