Aidah Asaba
Lesbian Asylum-Seeker Faces Deportation From U.K. to Uganda

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com May 21 2014 9:48 PM ET

A Ugandan lesbian seeking asylum in the U.K. because of the persecution she would face in her home country is scheduled to be deported Saturday, but activists are trying to keep this from happening.

Aidah Asaba fled Uganda for the U.K. in October after having been abused by her family and others in her hometown and forced into an arranged marriage, reports British website Pink News. Her husband, she told Gay Star News, repeatedly raped and beat her. People in her community accused her of “recruiting young girls to be lesbians,” she said, and demanded that she come to a town meeting to discuss her sexuality.

She applied for asylum in January, but officials with the Home Office, the U.K. government department that handles asylum, reportedly do not believe she is a lesbian. The Home Office, which has been criticized for its handling of LGBT asylum cases, has told her to prepare for deportation Saturday to Uganda, which earlier this year enacted a law that prescribes long prison sentences for homosexuality. She believes Ugandan authorities know her identity and the details of her situation.

“I fear for my life if they will take me back to Uganda, my life has become worthless,” Pink News quoted her as saying. “I wish I wasn’t born, it is too much for me to bear. I cannot believe I am going to meet my death in Uganda because of my sexuality. …I am only praying for a miracle to happen such that I can live my life without fear of being persecuted or killed because of my sexuality. Please, I beg the U.K. government to help me.”

A rally in support of Asaba is scheduled for Thursday afternoon outside the House of Lords. Activist groups including Sexual Minorities Uganda and the U.K.-based African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group are advocating for her, and there is an online petition calling on the government to cancel her deportation. Find it on Change.org.