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Three LGBT Youths Describe Being Homeless in NYC

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Editorial

UK Homeless Youth

I make no apologies for republishing this article from The Advocate on homelessness in New York City ; its relevance is because in the UK a quarter of the UK’s homeless youth are LGBT, according to a groundbreaking new survey carried out by the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). Yyoung people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans are more likely to end up on the streets than their hetero peers. Many were rejected from their family homes on account of their sexuality, while others were fleeing abusive households. 

Please remember the homeless, no matter who they are, and if you can help then donate to any of the following charities:

John

 

In recent months photographer Ocean Morisset and I been documenting the stories of LGBT youths who have been driven to homelessness. Their experiences of cruel rejection in their homes as well as the ordeals they endure on the streets provide stark evidence of the harm still suffered by the most vulnerable in our community

We live in times that have seen tremendous progress for LGBT people. We have torn down some of our society’s most formidable structures of homophobia. But progress for our community isn’t monolithic. There are at least 200,000 LGBT youths suffering homelessness in our nation. The abuse, hostility, and neglect they endure seem to belong to the time before 1969, rather than 2015.

It is easier to change a law than to change the human heart. LGBT youths who have the misfortune to grow up in homophobic or transphobic homes face terrible cruelty and abuse. At the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, we hear heartrending accounts of their mistreatment. We hear about severe verbal abuse, kids being called “faggots” by their parents, being told that they are disgusting, that they are “against God.”

Unfortunately, it’s not just verbal abuse. Often youths are subjected to physical violence in their homes; they tell us of being punched, kicked, choked. Also they tell of degrading and humiliating treatment, like the young man profiled below who was made to literally sleep in a closet.

When they become homeless, either being thrown out of their homes, or fleeing from the cruelty and abuse there, trauma intensifies. Homelessness is an ordeal for anyone, but for LGBT youths it is horrific. Listening to them describe their experiences on the streets, I am most struck by how frightened they are, how terrified. Terrified of the people who would rob them or bash them. They tell of being overwhelmed by stress, not knowing how to find food, or shelter, or protect themselves.

Too often the available shelters pose insurmountable obstacles. Many homeless youth shelters push religion on homeless kids, with youths being encouraged to pray, read the Bible, or participate in “pastoral ministry” programs. No young person’s desperation for shelter should be exploited to promote a belief system. But this is especially problematic for LGBT youths who have so often been made homeless because of the religious beliefs of their parents. Even more problematic for LGBT youths is the hostility they face from other shelter residents. Unfortunately, many of the beds in this country are in large warehouse shelters. Warehousing homeless people creates dehumanizing conditions where LGBT youths are frequently targets of anti-LGBT violence and harassment. It is very frustrating to listen to so many LGBT youths explain how they feel safer sleeping in the streets than in large warehouse shelters.

Homeless LGBT youths need the advocacy and support of our broader community, The most important step we can take to protect them is to support shelter and housing programs where they can be safe from abuse, whether it be from abusive religious agendas or from conditions that promote violence and harrassment.

The Ali Forney Center offers emergency and long-term housing dedicated to LGBT youths. We also offer programs which help youths overcome the harm of rejection and homophobia, enabling them to be healed and to rebuild their lives. These include medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment as well as extensive educational and vocational training and placement programs. All these services are offered in an environment where the youths can be free of the further trauma of homophobia and transphobia. We provide care to over 1,000 youths per year. Please consider offering your support here.

I would also encourage support for LGBT-dedicated homeless youth programs in other parts of the country. To learn more about such programs in your local area, please see our Web page devoted to the services available to homeless LGBTyouths across the country. The Ali Forney Center is dedicated to encouraging the success of programs dedicated to homeless LGBT youths, and we have offered training and technical assistance to many of these vital programs.

This holiday season, please help us bring homeless LGBT youths in from the cold to a place where they can find warmth, healing, safety and affirmation. Now meet three LGBT youths and hear about their lives on the streets of New York. —Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center

Why Homeless LGBT Youth Need Our Help

Tank, 23

I grew up in Queens. I had to leave home because I was abused by my mother; called a faggot, vulgar stuff.

When I was with friends who were also homeless, we would huddle together, sometimes in Union Square, sometimes in Staten Island. We would sleep in Staten Island in abandoned buildings that had been left wrecked by Hurricane Sandy. Once when we walked on the floor, the floorboard broke underneath us, and a friend had his leg split open. We closed the wound and took him out into the street before we called the ambulance. We didn’t want anyone to know where we were staying.

We were afraid to stay in the adult shelters — we heard too many things about LGBT kids being beaten and robbed there.

A friend who knew I was on the streets got me a job at Taco Bell. I was working maintenance, working the night shift. I was also going to college. It was hard, sometimes I was crying. Sometimes I would look bummy, but I was still going to class. I had to go. I always heard my mother in the back of my head saying I wouldn’t get nothing for myself.

I want to be a veterinarian. Plus I want to open a home for youth who have nowhere to go.

Why Homeless LGBT Youth Need Our Help

Angel, 22

My grandmother raised me and my brothers and sisters. She died when I was 14. For a while I stayed with my aunt. It was a nightmare. She wouldn’t recognize my gender. I had a job at a theater, and she charged me $200 a week to sleep in a clothes closet on a pillow. I tried to make the best of it. At least the pillow was tempurpedic; it was the comfiest pillow ever.

When I became homeless I tried to go to a big shelter for hundreds of kids. The intake worker refused to respect my gender identity. I showed her that I had a male ID, but she said it didn’t make a difference, that my wanting to be respected as a male was bullshit.

They put me in a female dorm. One of the other girls there said I couldn’t use the bathroom unless I payed her $40! She raised her fist to me and threatened me for $40!! I couldn’t deal with it, so I decided to sleep in the subway. I slept in the subway for two weeks. I found the whole thing so stressful that I couldn’t eat.

It was better when I stayed in an LGBT shelter. They respected me when I was transitioning.

Today I got a promotion at my job at Dunkin’ Donuts. Now I’m a shift leader!

Why Homeless LGBT Youth Need Our Help

Quincy, 21

I had to leave my home because my mother couldn’t accept me. She would get angry about the way I acted and the clothes I wore. It was always “You’re a fag, you’re a batty boy” (she’s from Jamaica).

For a while after I left home I was sleeping on friends’ couches. Then for two weeks straight I was sleeping on the subway. I would clutch all my stuff really tight, holding them close, especially after I was robbed.

Mornings were rough because I was so exhausted. I could never get enough sleep, only two or three hours. It took a toll on my body. I was always tired and irritated. I couldn’t focus.

I was afraid to go to the men’s shelter. I have a friend who stayed there, and when they found out he was gay they beat him up mercilessly. If they would do that to a grown man, what would they do to a scrawny 21-year-old gay kid.

When you are on the streets, riding the subways, nights are very tough. Sometimes I felt so alone. Nobody cared, nobody asked about me. I was just alone.

Digital Campaign Launches To Remind Gay Men To Test For HIV Regularly

By The Gay UK, Jun 30 2015 09:58AM

A new digital campaign was launched yesterday by the Terrence Higgins Trust to remind gay men and MSM (men who have sex with men) to get tested for HIV regularly.

(C) Terrence Higgins Trust

(C) Terrence Higgins Trust
A feel-good video has been launched by THT as part of the charity’s mission to get more gay men and MSMs to test for HIV more regularly.

The launch is part of its continuing efforts with the It Starts With Me campaign. Figures show that gay and bisexual men are still the most affected by HIV in England.
There is an estimated 43,500 gay and bisexual men living with HIV in the UK, one in six of whom don’t know they are positive, so could pass it on without knowing.
The summery video features a male couple who get together at a BBQ.
Cary James, Head of Programmes at Terrence Higgins Trust said:

“The fight against HIV will not only be won by large organisations or governments, but by the actions of individuals in the most personal and intimate moments of their lives.

“At this time of the year when the LGBT community comes together to celebrate Pride, we hope this video will inspire all of us to play a part in stopping HIV by regular testing and protecting each other by using condoms.“
The #TogetherSummer video and social media activity will direct people to the It Starts With Me website which offers a tool to find the nearest testing clinic, a the perfect condom, and a tool to tell you whether or not you need a HIV test.
HIV Prevention England’s It Starts with Me campaign launched in April 2013, and is co-ordinated by Terrence Higgins Trust, funded by Public Health England.
The campaign speaks directly to gay and bisexual men, chiefly about the importance of HIV testing and using condoms.

Overtones Take Over ITV With Sweet Soul Music

By The Gay UK, Apr 17 2015 10:29AM

Dapper Overtones are taking over ITV as they promo their new album Sweet Soul Music.

The supergroup, of which 3 are of the man loving variety, are due to sing on This Morning. In a recent interview with TheGayUK, the boys undertook a How Gay Is interview where we revealed that Lachie, would love to be Belle from Beauty And Beast, as he loves dancing with big hairy men. (Don’t we all)
We also found out that Timmy, the band’s loveable lead singer, doesn’t think Katie Hopkins is a gay icon.
The fivesome recorded River Deep Mountain High with X Factor winner Sam Bailey, talking about the recording Darren Everest from Essex said, “She’s cool man, she’s a really cool girl. Really down to earth, loves a chat… We just sat there for two hours and we’re like, ‘we should probably do some singing now…’ It was really cool to see her and Lachie go in, they had a mic each when they were doing their leads. It was like one big sing off. It was really cool. She was heavily pregnant and we were a bit like, as she was hitting them high notes, ‘I hope she doesn’t pop…'”


Top Results from Amazon: Overtones

£2 Million Awards Announced From Homophobic Bullying Fund

Image result for political dogma cartoons northern irelandHomophobic bullying is still happening throughout society, and in particular in our schools.  None of us condone it, but very few of us actually do anything concrete to stop it, and in particular families of LGBT kids are often to quiet in challenging schools/colleges/universities when they are aware of what has happened to their child or to someone they know.

In our previous comment on the Ashers Bakery case, we noted that the Office of the First MInister along with the Deputy First Minister funds the Equality Commission, this means they are responsible for ensuring equality in our schools but why is it that our legislative bodies seem to be dragging their feet over ensuring that our children our safe from any kind of bullying in our schools?

Is political dogma getting in the why of natural rights?  I will let you decide when you next speak to your MLA/MP and at the ballot box.

£2 Million Awards Announced From Homophobic Bullying Fund

By The Gay UK, Mar 24 2015 03:43PM

Funds awarded to projects to train school staff and provide support for pupils affected by homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

◉ Stonewall awarded nearly half million pounds of the £2million total.
◉ Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson, said, “It’s good news that schools are making progress on homophobic bullying
Classroom (C) Thomas Favre-Bulle via Flickr

Classroom (C) Thomas Favre-Bulle via Flickr
Today eight organisations will be told they are to get a share of £2 million to help prevent and eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. The funding was announced by Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, and Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, in October 2014.
Homophobic bullying in schools is decreasing: 55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people surveyed for Stonewall’s 2012 School Report said they had experienced homophobic bullying, down from 65 per cent in 2009.
However further action is still needed. Metro’s Youth Chances Survey 2014 found that more than half of gay young people had experienced either discrimination or harassment. In a report from Stonewall last year 86 per cent of secondary school teachers and 45 per cent of primary school teachers said pupils at their school had experienced homophobic bullying. Most (89 per cent for secondary schools and 70 per cent for primary) had heard homophobic language used. Teachers say they lack the knowledge and confidence to tackle HBT bullying effectively. These projects will help to build that confidence by providing training and resources for school staff.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, said, “It’s good news that schools are making progress on homophobic bullying, but it must be eradicated entirely. The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life, and it is absolutely unacceptable that those who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender are being targeted. Teachers need specialist support and training to help them stamp out homophobic bullying, which is why we have funded these excellent projects which are designed to tackle this issue head on.”
The organisations awarded funding are:
Anne Frank Trust (£104,894) – to run workshops and educate young people about prejudice and the impact of the Holocaust on lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
Barnardo’s (£263,218) – to provide face-to-face support for victims of HBT bullying and training for staff with a focus on cultural issues in schools in Leeds and Wakefield.
Diversity Role Models with Brook (£277,722) – to develop and deliver training on tackling HBT bullying to 10,000 teachers and staff in 400 schools.
EACH (£189,304) – to deliver a training and resource programme in schools across Avon and Somerset.
Educate and Celebrate (£214,048) – to train staff in 60 schools, giving them confidence and strategies to address HBT language and bullying and promote inclusiveness throughout the school environment and the curriculum.
National Children’s Bureau (£128,754)– to train 1,500 teachers on tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through PSHE.
Show Racism the Red Card (£119,557)– to hold workshops with 2,000 young people at football clubs around England, train 200 teachers and run a film competition for young people on tackling HBT bullying.
Stonewall (£465,594) – to extend and share its ‘train the trainer’ course with 60 partner organisations, enabling them to run the programme with schools in their local communities and giving them the skills to tackle HBT bullying.
ALSO READ:1 in ten calls to Samartians are worried about their sexualityMarcel Varney, Assistant Director for Barnardo’s, said, “At Barnardo’s, we hear about HBT bullying from the young people we work with across the organisation. We know that the bullying of a young person because of their sexuality can be incredibly damaging and can impact dramatically on a young person’s ability to succeed at school.
“This commitment from the government will enable us to reach hundreds of young people to alert them to the impact of HBT bullying. It‘s a big step towards stamping out HBT bullying. We aim to improve the visibility of LGBT lives in the school environment and ensure that young people are supported regardless of culture or religion.”

UK armed forces recruits to be asked if they are gay

Move introduced in bid to foster greater tolerance within the military, but recruits will be allowed to ‘prefer not to say’

  • The Guardian,
British troops
The British armed forces only allowed gay soldiers to openly serve in 2000. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Recruits to the British armed forces will be asked whether they are gay in a move to improve diversity in the military.

Details of the service personnel’s sexual preference will be stored, and recruits will have the option to “prefer not to say”. The measure has been introduced in a bid to foster greater tolerance within the armed forces, which have allowed gay soldiers to openly serve since 2000.

Recruits will also be invited to provide additional information on how open they feel they can be regarding their sexual orientation. The information will not be visible on individual personal records or to chain of command or managers, and will be anonymised before being collated to ensure no one can be identified by their personal diversity information.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: “The MoD proudly encourages diversity at all levels. Service personnel are now encouraged to declare their sexual orientation. Although this is not mandatory, collecting this data will give us a better understanding of the composition of our armed forces and help ensure our policies and practices fully support our personnel.”

This move to encourage recruits to declare their sexual orientation was introduced last November. The armed forces said it believed the new policy would shed new light on its workforce and help create a more inclusive organisation.

‘Cursed by God’: Far-right activist claims Liverpool FC punished for backing gay rights

Are you a football supporter; are you gay; do you agree or disagree with Paul Rimmer’s statement?  Read the article and then let us know!

A far-right English Democrats activist has claimed Premier League football team Liverpool FC had performed less well last season because they openly ‘promoted’ homosexuality.

Former UKIP candidate Paul Rimmer came under fire on Tuesday for posting comments on social media about the football club’s alleged support of homosexuality.

Rimmer, who was previously an activist for the British National Party (BNP), posted quotes from the Bible accompanied by a damning report of Liverpool’s recent performances, saying they would not improve unless they “repented.

“From the Bible, Sodomy defiles a Nation. Those who promote it will be punished & vomited out of the Land. Lev.18.23. In 2012 Liverpool FC sponsored the City’s Gay Pride Parade. Unless they repent they will be under a continual curse,” the post read.

This was followed by a comment about the unacceptability of homosexuality.

“Everyone knows homosexuality is wrong, but now we have to pretend it’s nice & normal and anyone who points out it’s a perversion is evil. This is a deep moral & spiritual sickness in our nation,” he added.

His other social media posts include criticism of the BBC for being “totally unpatriotic, anti-Christian & anti-white,” worshipping “sodomy & blackness” and pushing “pro-Moslem propaganda.”

Paul Rimmer (Image from liveraf.wordpress.com)

Paul Rimmer (Image from liveraf.wordpress.com)

He has further labeled feminists who criticized his remarks as “feminazis.”

UKIP described Rimmer’s comments as “idiotic” while Liverpool FC Supporters’ Committee LGBT representative Paul Amman called Rimmer “inaccurate.”

Amman said he was proud of the work the club had achieved to reduce homophobic discrimination.

The club has got a proud record of tackling discrimination and fighting inequality and has done some fantastic work,” he said.

“LFC has never sponsored Liverpool Pride but has marched at the event for three years in succession. Members of the women’s team, staff, club officials, supporters, ambassadors and directors have taken part, showing their support and recognizing the wider LFC family.”

He clarified that having an active LGBT Supporters group does not hinder the sporting prowess of a top Premiership club.

“Also, Manchester City has a lively LGBT Supporters group called Canal Street Blues, which hasn’t stopped them from topping the table,” he added.

Rimmer, who gained a degree in politics from Cambridge University, defended his statements, telling the Liverpool Echo they were not his opinions, but the word of God.

“Basically it says in the Bible that certain forms of behavior go against the laws of God and therefore God will react to them and he will curse those who willfully disobey him.”

“I am only repeating what is said in the Bible – it’s not my opinion, it’s what the Bible says.”

“It’s just to make people aware God has a law and if you infringe this law there will be consequences,” he said.

“If people get upset by this it’s up to them. Christ calls on us to repent and believe.” he added.

Rimmer was arrested in 2012 while challenging a rainbow flag hung at Toxteth police station in Liverpool.

 

Republished from RT – Question More

Rise in homophobic attacks in London, Greater Manchester, South Wales and Northern Ireland, say police

Republished from

PSNIPolice forces across the UK have reported a rise in the number of homophobic crimes this year – with the biggest increases in London, Greater Manchester, South Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hundreds of lesbian and gay people have been assaulted so far this year. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) charities have responded by saying it was “encouraging” that more people were reporting hate crimes, but said many victims felt “silenced” by abuse on the street. Some 19 police forces recorded more attacks which were motivated by a person’s sexuality between January and October 2014, when compared with the whole of last year. In London alone, the Metropolitan Police recorded 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October – up 66 from 1,007 last year, a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association uncovered. The overall figure for the capital for 2014 included 315 assaults, and 747 harassment offences – which saw a sharp rise from 693 last year. Greater Manchester Police recorded 278 violent homophobic offences between January and October, up from 231 in 2013; while South Wales Police recorded 162 violent crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation between January and October, up from 132 last year. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) revealed that homophobic crimes had increased year on year since 2006/2007. In 2013/2014, 280 incidents were recorded by the force – up from 245 in 2012/2013 and 200 in 2011/2012. This included 133 violent homophobic crimes this year”

There have been over 1000 attacks motivated by the victim’s sexuality in London so far this year

Police forces across the UK have reported a rise in the number of homophobic crimes this year – with the biggest increases in London, Greater Manchester, South Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Hundreds of lesbian and gay people have been assaulted so far this year. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) charities have responded by saying it was “encouraging” that more people were reporting hate crimes, but said many victims felt “silenced” by abuse on the street.

Some 19 police forces recorded more attacks which were motivated by a person’s sexuality between January and October 2014, when compared with the whole of last year.

In London alone, the Metropolitan Police recorded 1,073 violent homophobic offences between January and October – up 66 from 1,007 last year, a Freedom of Information request by thePress Association uncovered.

The overall figure for the capital for 2014 included 315 assaults, and 747 harassment offences – which saw a sharp rise from 693 last year.

Greater Manchester Police recorded 278 violent homophobic offences between January and October, up from 231 in 2013; while South Wales Police recorded 162 violent crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation between January and October, up from 132 last year.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) revealed that homophobic crimes had increased year on year since 2006/2007. In 2013/2014, 280 incidents were recorded by the force – up from 245 in 2012/2013 and 200 in 2011/2012. This included 133 violent homophobic crimes this year

LGBT Asylum Seekers Say They Face Homophobic Abuse in UK Detention Centers

By Ben Bryant

Gay and lesbian asylum seekers face homophobic abuse and sexual harassment in UK detention centers, former detainees have told VICE News.

The LGBT individuals fled persecution in their home nations to seek asylum in the UK on the grounds of their sexual orientation. They say they were bullied, threatened, or sexually harassed while they waited weeks – or even months, in some cases – for a judgment on their applications. The former detainees agreed to speak about their experiences only on the condition of anonymity.

One asylum seeker told VICE News that he waited longer than six months for the Home Office to reach a decision on his application, and was prescribed sedative antidepressants to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression stemming from the homophobic abuse he encountered in government accommodations.

Another said he was sexually assaulted at Harmondsworth immigration removal center by a fellow detainee, and that he felt “totally unsafe” in detention.

Italy is about to shut down the sea rescue operation that saved more than 90,000 migrants this year. Read more here.

In March, UK Home Secretary Theresa May ordered a review of how border officials handle asylum claims and pledged that all claimants would be treated with “respect and dignity.”

However, the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) said its LGBT clients “regularly complain about bullying, verbal abuse and threats of violence,” while in detention or community accommodation, according to the group’s submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK filed last month. The group also criticized the lack of published statistics relating to sexual and gender identity asylum claims.

Tahir, 35, came to London as an IT student in 2006. He applied for asylum earlier this year after he was almost beaten to death by his brothers over his sexuality on a visit to his home in southern Punjab, Pakistan.

Tahir was detained for three weeks in April at Harmondsworth removal center, which was then run by private contractor GEO Group Ltd, but has since been taken over by Mitie, an outsourcing company. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mitie.

The facility, located near London’s Heathrow Airport, houses approximately 620 men. Five inmates have died there since 2000, including three who were found hanged in their cells.

Tahir described the facility as “totally unsafe” for LGBT asylum seekers. Once inside, he was subjected to verbal abuse and sexual harassment. On one occasion, he says that he was pulled into another detainee’s room and sexually assaulted.

Europe is failing refugees from Syria. Read more here.

Tahir, who was granted asylum on May 6, says he reported the incident to a staff member, but no action was taken. Instead, staff members told him that he was “very visible,” and advised him to “keep yourself down.”

“I always just keep quiet,” Tahir told VICE News. “I always focus on my stuff. And the officer, instead of taking any action, he’s saying to me you have to keep down. For what? What did I do? Did I take off my shirt? Have I invited anyone in my room? Did I ever provoke anyone to do anything to me?”

Maajid, 24, came to the UK as an English language student from Pakistan, where his family disowned him for being gay. His lawyer told him that he had a strong case for asylum, but he was held in a detention center for three weeks and then community accommodation for a further six months while he waited for the Home Office to make a decision on his application.

Maajid says he was bullied and threatened with violence during his time in the G4S-run community accommodation — a type of non-secure housing provided by private contractors to asylum seekers, who are not allowed to work while they await the outcome of the asylum claim.

From the end of February until mid-July, Maajid shared a room in Doncaster in northern England with a Muslim roommate and was bullied by other asylum seekers. He says his mental state deteriorated during this period as he was threatened with violence and regularly slept in the kitchen.

“I put a picture of Zayn Malik in my room,” he told VICE News, referring to the One Direction singer. “Just a picture! And [my roommate] said if you put this picture, I can’t pray. Then he tried to punch me.”

Young and Gay in Belgrade. Watch the VICE News documentary here.

Maajid was prescribed sedative antidepressants for anxiety and depression throughout this period.

In a recent letter recommending Maajid for priority housing owing to mental health symptoms, his doctor said that he had been “suffering a lot of stress and anxiety symptoms as well as depression,” some stemming from “homophobic abuse” he had received in Doncaster and concern of recurring abuse in Sheffield.

Maajid’s application for asylum was accepted on August 15.

UKLGIG Executive Director Paul Dillane said Tahir and Maajid’s experiences “are all too familiar to our organization where we regularly receive complaints of bullying, verbal abuse, threats of physical violence and even sexual harassment in immigration detention centers and community accommodation.”

Dillane emphasized that, “the Home Office must ensure that LGBTI people whose lives are at risk are granted refugee protection, but also that they are treated with dignity and respect during the asylum process.”

A Home Office spokesperson told VICE News that, “the UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and applications are considered carefully in line with the immigration rules before a decision is made.”

Addressing alleged instances of abuse, the spokesperson said, “it is totally unacceptable for any individual to be subject to bullying, verbal abuse or threats of violence because of their gender or sexual orientation and we expect all complaints to be dealt with to the highest standards by our staff and service providers.”

The fight to end anti-gay conversion therapy is amplifying. Read more here.

A G4S spokesperson acknowledged that Maajid made complaints to staff.

“We work hard to ensure the safety and well-being of asylum seekers in our care,” the G4S spokesperson said. “We have a zero tolerance policy towards abuse of any kind, and we take all complaints very seriously. There is a robust process in place to deal with any issues raised by service users. In this case, no complaints of abuse regarding sexual orientation were made to G4S by the individual concerned.”

A GEO UK spokesperson told VICE News that the contractor no longer operates the Harmondsworth immigration removal center, but said, “prejudice would not be tolerated in any form by or against anyone.” The spokesperson insisted that the center had “a very good record in its support for LGBT detainees.”

“There were various channels through which a LGBT detainee could register complaints or concerns about the conduct of other detainees (or for that matter about a member of staff failing to act on a complaint),” the GEO UK spokesperson said.

In 2010, asylum seekers won the right not to be deported from the UK if they would be persecuted in their home country because of their sexual identity.

An investigation into the interviews process for LGBT detainees by the office of the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration published last week found that more than ten percent of Home Office interviews included “intrusive or unsatisfactory” questions about their sex lives.

https://news.vice.com/article/lgbt-asylum-seekers-say-they-face-homophobic-abuse-in-uk-detention-centers