Gay man refused asylum because he ‘didn’t have a boyfriend’ wants to give others like him hope
A gay Malaysian man seeking asylum because of homophobic persecution was refused eight times by Home Office officials. Their explanation? He didn’t have a boyfriend.
Yew Fook Sam (known as Sam), 68, claimed asylum on the basis of his sexual orientation after being arrested in 2015. He had entered the UK 10 years previously on a travel visa and never left.
Sam told officials that if he returned to his native Malaysia, where homosexuality is illegal, he would be arrested, jailed, and subjected to brutal treatment.
Despite this, his claim was rejected.
“They told me because I didn’t have a boyfriend I wasn’t gay,” Sam told the Liverpool Echo.
“I’m 68. I don’t need a partner.”
Gay asylum seeker was left depressed by Home Office treatment.
Sam said that his claim was refused eight times before being given leave to remain in the UK in December 2019.
He said that the state of uncertainty left him depressed and with suicidal thoughts.
“Eight times I was refused, all the way up to the High Court,” he said.
“It was very hard. I do feel more optimistic for the future now.”
Sam now has five years leave to remain, at the end of which he can apply for indefinite leave. He said he is having therapy “to process it all”, studying, and volunteering with Pride organisations and asylum services.
“I work two days a week at Asylum Link as a volunteer interpreter,” he told the Echo.
Every time people come to me I give encouragement: ‘Don’t ever give up hope.’
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“I try to help as I can. I like to give back. The only day I have off is Saturday, I stop then to do my washing.”
During his own asylum battle, Sam relied on the help of a number of LGBT+ and asylum groups including Open Table, an LGBT+ Christian group based in Liverpool.
“You get lots of support,” he said .”They introduced me to lots of other people and groups such as the Armistice Centre, and I joined lots of groups including Liverpool Pride.”
He explained that he now joins the Pride parade each year as an out and proud gay man.
“I had been hiding myself, but if you’re gay you should feel happy to be yourself.”
PinkNews has contacted the UK Home Office for comment.