Written evidence from Dr Alex Amicarelli (RHR0018)
Affirm Human Rights
Professionals Against Gender Based Violence &
Organisation for Religious Freedoms
Federation of Women Lawyers UK (FIDA-UK)
Black Womens Health and Family Support
RESPONSE ON BEHALF OF ORGANISATIONS
Members of the Black and other minority LGBTIQ+ communities face a number of issues for being LGBTIQ+ and for belonging to other ethnic or national minorities and the issues they face are doubled and tripled as these are experienced in their own communities of origin and outside in the wider society and the forms of discrimination may be many.
Things get even worse inside some contexts such as detention centers and prisons, and some individuals’ status, like the one of refugees, can also affect the risk to suffer to an higher degree, for instance a Gay Black Muslim Refugee, or a Transgender Latino Refugee will more likely be victims of abuse and stigmatisation inside the ethnic or religious community and outside these, and even inside the wider LGBTIQ+ community.
Some organisations refer to the Black LGBTIQ+ as QTIBPOC, i.e. Queer Trans Intersex Black People & People of Colour, some others use the term BAME, Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnicity LGBTIQ+, however not all people like being labelled and there is no agreement on which term to use and most of them are interchangeable and should be used respectfully.
The well-known problem of indefinite detention in the UK is a real issue for a number of refugees and other detained immigrants, this makes the lives of the QTIBPOC, Queer Trans Intersex Black People & People of Colour, refugees a real nightmare as they are often targeted by other detainees and bullied and verbally and even sexually abused as often reported by human rights organisations and by some media.
As reported in 2019 by the Independent “At the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG), we receive calls and emails from desperate people in detention centres almost every single day. The people we support and visit in detention centres have fled their countries in fear of being persecuted because they are LGBT+. They ask our government for protection as refugees, but the government locks them up and doesn’t tell them how long they’ll be held. Throughout that time, they are subject to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment, physical abuse and even sexual assault.” (Leila Zadeh on the Independent online 13 September 2019, “Detention is one of the most dangerous places for LGBT+ refugees. The government must enforce a time limit”).
In 2018 the well-known Stonewall Group revealed that 51% of BAME LBGT+ members have experienced racism inside the LGBT community and the figure rises to 61% for Black LGBT+.
Black LGBT+ people report being victims of stigma inside their communities of origin, e.g. their family or larger family groups, that culturally reject the LGBT+ people, and they also are stigmatised inside the LGBT+ communities; at times they also fall victims of prejudice for their ethnic background, and for being for instance Black and LGBT+. The situation is even aggravated when the BAME LGBT+ individual belong to some other minority such as they are physically challenged, or have mental health issues, or have been victims of domestic violence or other abuse and / or belong to a religious minority such as they are Muslim or Hindu or others and as such the number of issues they face are multiplied.
The number and the content of testimonies reported to human rights groups are telling; for instance Mr Achabe (the name is one of fantasy to preserve confidentiality) from Nigeria told the Independent that he was victim of sexual assault in a UK detention centre and that the centre did not bother to help him. He stated that “The guy grabbed me, saying he’s going to break my soul. I had to press the buzzer. The officer that came down said there’s nothing he can do. We had to deal with it. That was another nightmare for me.” (Leila Zadeh on the Independent online 13 September 2019, “Detention is one of the most dangerous places for LGBT+ refugees. The government must enforce a time limit”).
Stonewall Group reported that QTIPOC people are often either marginalised or fetishised on dating app sub-groups and are more likely to be abused also inside a stable relationship by their own partners and are often made victims of micro-aggressions that at times the aggressor doesn’t realise being an aggression, such as asking them “So, what are you?” or “Are you actually Queer?”, “O, you speak so articulately”, and made victims of cultural stereotypes and assumptions such as “Your family must be really homophobic..”.
Moreover Muslim, or other faith, LGBTIQ+ tend not to talk about their sexuality inside their family community because of the rejection of LGBT+ inside the Muslim, or other religious, communities nor outside their families as they are also victims of stereotypes as Muslims, and other people of faith, are often seen as homophobic so they prefer not to talk about their identity; likewise for the same reason they tend not to talk about themselves inside the LGBTIQ+ community and things are even more complex if the Muslim, or other faith, LGBTIQ+ individual is also a member of a BAME community such as Black, or Asian or Latino or a different one.
As there is no agreement on a single term to identify QTIPOC people and labelling, albeit being of use for scientific and research purposes, may not be suitable for everyone and may also risk to stigmatise those it is used for, likewise there is no single recipe to deal with the issues faced by members of the BAME LGBTIQ+ / QTIPOC communities as circumstances differ dependingon what sub-group they belong to, such as Muslim, Latino, Hindu, Physically challenged, having Mental health issues, coming from an abusive relationship or dysfunctional family etc. and in which context they are in, such as workplace, detention centre, school, sport’s environment etc. Furthermore different people will experience their identity and deal with the problems they face, differently, and the solution may differ from the one which may be suitable for others in the same or different circumstance.
Given the above situation and differing solutions being possible for different people the Government should take into account to adopt a national strategic intervention plan to assist the BAME LGBTIQ+ / QTIPOC communities and by doing so: