We were appalled to hear the recent comments made by the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, regarding the status of LGBTQ+ individuals seeking refuge from discrimination. Her statement, asserting that being “gay or a woman doesn't warrant protection”, profoundly dismisses the realities faced by LGBTQ+ communities across the world.

Under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, it is internationally recognised that women and LGBTQ+ people facing persecution and in need of sanctuary should receive international protection. It is therefore deeply concerning that Braverman would challenge the United Nation Conventions, which have garnered support from the majority of the world's nations.

On a daily basis, LGBTQ+ people across the globe continue to face persecution in their home countries. Currently, over 60 countries have banned and criminalised same-sex marriage, with 12 countries imposing the death penalty based on sexual orientation or gender identity. These LGBTQ+ communities are forced to flee their homes due to the constant threat of abuse, torture, imprisonment, violence and numerous human right violations.  

In light of these global threats, it is imperative our political system showcases understanding and compassion for the LGBTQ+ community. This cannot be achieved without political leaders who abide by international laws designed to protect people's equal rights, a fundamental aspect of recognising LGBTQ+ people on a global scale.

The insinuation that LGBTQ+ people and women are falsely claiming refuge en masse to enter the UK is both unhelpful and harmful. It is refuted by official statistics, which show that only 1% of applications lodged in 2021 were based on sexual orientation. Nevertheless, the Home Secretary's statement that accepting claims based on sexual orientation or gender identity will overwhelm the system lacks merit, given the majority of these claims are valid and come from refugees at risk of serious violence and even death.

As a UK-based LGBTQ+ charity, we're proud of the UK's history in supporting LGBTQ+ refugees facing persecution. We also recognise the importance of standing in solidarity with charities and organisations who work tirelessly to support LGBTQ+ refugees and women in hostile situations.

LGBTQ+ people should have the freedom to be themselves. The UK has made a huge impact in standing up for the LGBTQ+ community on a global scale. It is saddening to hear that a political leader would take this stance against the LGBTQ+ community when their role should be to champion equal rights for all. Everyone deserves to live somewhere where they feel safe, respected and valued.