The latest in his long case of seeking asylum, a Jamaican man tells The Independent he's humiliated after being asked to convince British bureaucrats that he's bisexual, even showing a photo of himself having sex with a man.
Jamaican national, Orashia Edwards, 34, says British bureaucrats weren't convinced that, although he was once married to a woman, he is in fact bisexual, according to The Independent. Edwards showed the photo despite gay sex being illegal in his country, and he fears being murdered by homophobes back home.
“It was extremely degrading for me to have to do, and still they didn’t believe me,” he told The Independent.
Writing in her column on Friday, London-based gender and sexuality journalist, Siobhan Fenton noted that Edwards "has been in a relationship with another man for the last two years," but that civil servants in the U.K. Home Office deduced that because he once had a female spouse that he must be hoodwinking the system. He's now once again in a detention center, though he'd been released before.
It's not clear whether those officials are unfamiliar with how bisexuality works (and that by definition a bi person might have a record of relationships with members of more than one gender) or if they suspected Edwards as an imposter in his claim under the U.K.'s asylum regime for LGBT people seeking refuge from countries where they're in danger.
Edwards, who was first denied asylum almost a year ago due to "dishonest sexuality," is a prominent example but isn't the only one in this sort of predicament. Each year thousands of LGBT asylum-seekers travel to Europe hoping to secure a future free from discrimination and violence. But for many, the European Union is not what they’d anticipated and whether someone gets in is inconsistent.
Meanwhile, so desperate is the situation for LGBT Jamaicans that President Obama felt compelled to weigh in on the issue during his trip to Kingston. He gave a moving speech against a backdrop of LGBT youth literally living in storm drains and a gay man stoned to death in the street in Jamaica's capital.
Now, deportation back to Jamaica appears imminent for Edwards as he sits in a detention cell wondering what fate awaits him. A Facebook group has formed, called "Defend Orashia," to lobby for a change.
Learn more about his case in the short documentary, State of Limbo, produced last year: