The LGBT section of the information resource website provides a number of ‘must read’ pages on the topic of Hostile Environment anti-LGBT operational level dimensions in the Home Office/UKVI & Immigration Tribunal, giving need to know information if you are LGBT or care about the safety and human rights of LGBT people, even if not gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans yourself. On this page though we highlight the disingenuous PR phenomenon of public policy statements by Home Office/Whitehall and other Hostile Environment operational level implementers (UKVI section of the FCO overseas, and of course the Tribunal) of respect for and compliance with the Law regarding sexual & gender minorities (LGBT) on respect and safety matters, and that this applied on a balance of reasonable probabilities level in regard to case decisions.
Black isn’t White, and White isn’t Black –
except in Hostile Environment supportive & protective Whitehall derived policy statements
We have seen elsewhere the UKVI rider (scan from an original document, below) at the bottom of decision papers on in effect facts not necessarily agreeing with content, which itself is just for immigration [control] purposes – the factual accuracy of statements recorded in this letter has been assessed for immigration purposes only.
The Hostile Environment implementers of course in regard to its LGBT dimension are very aware, indeed it would be impossible for them Not to be aware, that a defining characteristic of the LGBT, especially gay & lesbian, community is whether or not a community member is openly Out as LGB or T. Here is the stated position regarding LGBT asylum related applications, but which by extension also covers the general policy position on LGBT related applications per se.
For reference, significantly, in the above international conventions the UK has signed up to, and the UK’s international obligations do NOT include under these and certainly NOT under relevant equality and human rights protection laws enacted by Parliament refer to the specific LGBT clauses/items provisions, and especially the Right to Family Life (the latter being absent is the first sign that these statements are for window dressing purposes only, legal riders: at the same time non-mention of the Right to Family Life is indicative of a classic homophobic worldview that same-sex marriages & civil partnerships don’t fit with their values of human life).
To conclude, the following Guardian article highlights so well the seismic difference the disingenuous position and policy statement of Home Office officials on LGBT confirms how far apart and facts and data are from the later where treatment of LGBT cases and LGBT safety are:
Home Office refused thousands of LGBT asylum claims, figures reveal — Exclusive: ‘culture of disbelief’ excludes at least 3,100 nationals from countries outlawing same-sex acts
‘… The challenges faced by LGBT asylum seekers were further highlighted by a case in which a first-tier immigration tribunal judge rejected the claim of a man because he did not have a gay “demeanour”.
The judge said he did not accept the man applying to stay in the UK was gay and contrasted his appearance with that of a witness who “wore lipstick” and had an “effeminate” manner, who the judge accepted was gay.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts deem it is safe to do so.
“Each case is considered on its individual merits against relevant case law and published country information, and all decisions on claims based on sexual orientation are reviewed by an experienced caseworker.
“*The UK has a proud record of providing protection to those fleeing persecution. Over 12 months we gave protection to more than 18,500 people, the highest number since 2003.”
* The final paragraph is an answer to a different question: the LGBT refusal/protection rates are a national embarrassment, so this nameless civil servant instead cites GENERAL numbers NOT, as in this context is the only one (LGBT) concerned, the LGBT statistics which the Guardian article has highlighted.
As we know from stated UKVI immigration application assessment criteria, that application supportive details and evidence are supposed to be on ‘a balance of probability basis’ but in fact in LGBT cases the criteria are anything but, being rather almost impossible to meet because of the recurrent, prevailing culture of disbelief applied by those assessing LGBT applications. This fundamental difference between a stated position regarding level and approach to scrutiny of claims, and, the, from the community affected side, actual record and revelation on the approach taken – and on the Home Page of this section of the website we provide numerous examples of the consequences of this difference, amongst many more that are in the public domain and backed by the extremely high LGBT cases refusals percentages – is one of the main defects in the policy statements above.
An equally important one is that even if balance of reasonable probabilities were applied (which it is not in most cases), for this to be safely, competently delivered it would be essential for all those (essentially ECOs and UKVI Caseworkers and the middle and upper echelons of the UKVI, especially at directing/executive operational level) making decisions on cases and assessing evidence be competent to do so.
This a matter of having demonstrable expertise, having independently assessed auditing of UKVI Caseworkers, ECOs, and those with decision-making powers LGBT competence training and their performances in regard to quality of assessing LGBT cases, by respected independent (having no formal or informal ties with the Home Office whether in advisory or other capacities) LGBT community leads and specialists.
Without this we are left with the unacceptable status quo where clearly revealed many of these Hostile Environment implementing operational level delivery officials/civil servants are subscribing to strong to extreme homophobic views*, and Westminster and HM Government for all their policy statements and laws, are clearly not competent on identifying such individuals (whose salaries are paid by UK taxpayers & voters, including millions of LGBT UK taxpayers & voters) or ensuring their disqualification and removal from such sensitive work. Many cases have been revealed – some of which are listed or analysed in this section of the information resource – where UKVI officers are clearly subscribing to the view that the only good gay or lesbian person is a dead one, or one that is tortured, tormented and driven to despair: this is commonplace in the more religious extremist perspectives of course, as is well-known.
Therefore it is important in turn to have provided to the LGBT public and LGBT leaders and specialists exactly how these caseworkers and ECOs are recruited, what LGBT competence tests they have to pass and who makes decisions on who becomes an ECO or UKVI Caseworker overseas and in the UK, in regard to positions on LGBT equality, safety, human rights, and especially what direction there is from Chief Operating Officer, Director General levels on this.
If there UK immigration services service users in their applications provided extensive and clear evidence that they are certainly subject to high risks of blackmail, murder/manslaughter, forced heterosexual arranged marriages, violence and the given ECO/Caseworker ignores such representations & supportive evidence then the latter are clearly not competent to be holding any post, especially decision making powers on cases, and are showing contempt for the policy statements detailed above from an immigration minister, a UKVI Director General and on UKVI/Home Office information online and in information guidelines and customer care commitments.
They are moreover themselves de-facto breaking UK laws, and human rights commitments of the UK. Sadly, and as detailed in our CPS information page, the prosecuting entities, government ministers and Parliament to date, have not been being shown to be competent on such matters due to the scale of the subversive influence and powers of the multi-agencies implemented Hostile Environment.
This phenomenon particularly embedded in the performance of many judges in the Immigration Tribunal, most importantly of all; such judges enable these abuses and their grave human costs to pass unchallenged, doubtless, it can reasonably be argued because they too lack the correct training and monitoring on LGBT cases contexts that we have indicated as the defects in these areas detailed above.
Finally, and returning to our main theme, of the crucial factor of whether an LGBT person is or is not Out as LGBT, we note that this has to be the defining factor that was identified by the architects and implementers of the Hostile Environment that in secret memos that came out at the time of the Whitehall/Home Office civil servants originated fall of the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, that on certain population groups are targeted for forced deportations and refusal of visas and LTR, the criteria of vulnerability to being able to effectively defend themselves, that of non-Out LGBTs is perhaps the most clear cut.
If Home Office (and ultimately Tribunal judges) case assessors had undergone credible LGBT related vetting and training those passing these, they would be completely aware on the issue of safeguarding and safety for LGBT people who are not out, and especially those who are not Out due to extreme dangers detailed and evidenced such as risk of manslaughter or murder, blackmail, forced marriage to members of the opposite sex. They would also be particularly aware too of the ever-present real danger of suicide if they have their sexual identity or gender identity denied or exposed. As we have seen elsewhere Immigration Tribunal oral hearings have even witnessed gay Appellants being Outed through the safety & safeguarding incompetence of the judge, and with the Home Office/Respondent legal counsel being indifferent or unaware too. Not being Out places those concerned immediately, as Home Office UKVI Caseworkers and their counterparts in the FCO, the ECOs and their subordinates the ECAs, are aware, at a major disadvantage where speaking out about homophobic tainted bullying in interviews and in decisions and decision paper details are concerned. It is known that such LGBT community members, amongst the most vulnerable of all, especially those seeking asylum for safety reasons, cannot speak out without bringing the catastrophe of disclosing their orientation or identity to the broader world and therefore ultimately those most well-placed to cause their deaths or inflict extreme harm.
This is known so well by the operational level implementers of the Hostile Environment, and certainly by those judges in the Immigration Tribunal apt to be lax in challenging the abuses characteristic of the latter. As such, these particular LGBT community UK Immigration services service users are placed in hellish, invidious positions with those wilfully utilising this vulnerability to force them to keep quiet on the injustices they are experiencing. The record on this is very clear, as evidenced in many scandals that appear in the news media, and by those who have found in changed circumstances that they can whistle-blow on this aspect of the anti-LGBT Hostile Environment.
We have seen direct evidence of the fury of UKVI Caseworker’s being directed against those they are interviewing, when it has emerged that they have been outed whilst in the UK, by freak (possibly blackmailing context) circumstances in their country of origin. The anger felt by the caseworker in question doubtless intent on securing a productivity bonus for forcing an unjustifiable and personally disastrous to the intended victim, deportation, arising from clear insurmountable obstacles to the gay asylum seeker being deported, being unlooked for introduced. This phenomenon evidences our assertion that ECOs and UKVI Caseworkers of perceived anti-LGBT dispositions, definitely using the fact that LGBT people who are not Out against them, as when this bullies dream factor is removed their anger is swiftly displayed.
In terms of immigration matters, sexual & gender minorities (LGB&Ts), especially sexual minorities (gay men and lesbian women) constitute, as a specific minority population group, the most vulnerable of peoples across many parts of the world. Their vulnerabilities are to murder, torture, violence, blackmail, mental health distress caused by persecution, bullying, family and friends’ rejection, and loss of jobs and careers, and homes.
In particular they are commonly denied because of homophobia the ability to find or be open about whom they love. The types of targeting they have and continue to be subject two under the unstated but very real target populations strategy – revealed by cases and data – of the Home Office/Whitehall directed Hostile Environment are indisputably the most extreme of all. This targeting extends to victims British same-sex married or civil partner, partners.
So severe is the targeting and so particular the circumstances around it, that it has been important to provide a dedicated LGBT section to this information resource. This, particularly because in the multi-agency instituted anti-LGBT dimension of the Hostile Environment we see more than shadows and parallels of the old pre-1967 UK. We find in fact revealed, and on a par with the most entrenched homophobic forms of exclusivist dogmatic religions of anti-LGBT kinds, and in some sections of sport, the Hostile Environment to be an aggressively homophobic phenomenon.
If actual facts and the record of actual facts count – and they do, as all honest self-respecting men and women across the globe know – then in the case of the homophobic dimension of the Hostile Environment, then the parallels with late Victorian to 1967 England, in which to be gay was a very serious crime, are more than reasonable.
In this, and we recall the persecution and imprisonment leading to an early death, of Oscar Wilde, of the persecution of the British national hero, breaker of the enigma code, Alan Turin, chemically castrated and driven to suicide, we certainly see parallels with the updated but ultimately the same time of elements within the British Whitehall and Judiciary establishment as those earlier times.
Immigration Tribunal court hearings and decisions, and in interrogations and interviews from Border Force at Heathrow Airport, to those of UKVI caseworkers and their refusal papers, the phobia – homophobia – that in 2019 Britain dare not speak its name [due to the Equality Act 2010 legal obligations] is as rife in the Hostile Environment UK immigration agencies & Tribunal, in terms of classical engrained stock-type homophobia motivated conduct/behaviour of judges, caseworkers, ECOs, in how they treat gay men and lesbians, as it ever was in the days of Wilde and Turing.