LSE debates about gay refugees

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The London School of Economics (LSE), held its annual Featherstone Sexual Orientation and Gender Moot, named in honor of one of the pioneers of marriage equality. This year the discussion was devoted to asylum seekers, inspired by the story of Karim Nasri, who was departed from the UK but could not come back home because it was illegal to be gay there. The moot organizers “highlighted the deep injustices faced by LGBT+ asylum seekers in the UK, including how asylum seekers are asked deeply personal questions about their sex lives if in order to prove their sexual orientation.” The issue of LGBT discrimination motivated by religious freedom was also discussed. It also includeda seminar on LGBT+ family law from Dr Bianca Jackson, head of the Alternative Families Practice at Coram Chambers. Finally, there was a workshop on trans rights in the UK and US, given by Michelle Brewer (Garden Court) and David Bufton (Linklaters) from the recently launched Trans Equality Legal Initiative, and Corey Stoughton, a leading US civil rights lawyers who until recently led the Obama administration’s work on trans rights. There was also an NGO area where students could find out more about how to get involved with Stonewall, the Human Dignity Trust, Galop and other LGBT+ rights NGOs. David Bufton, Chair of Linklaters’ LGB&T group said: “Linklaters is proud to once again be the gold sponsor for the LSE-Featherstone LGBT+ Moot following the highly successful inaugural competition last year. Judging the final round alongside esteemed experts in the field of asylum law was an absolute joy and the standard of talent and passion this year was extremely high.” Leading LGBT+ asylum barrister S Chelvan, judging the final, concluded: “Both teams displayed high-quality research and preparation, strong advocacy skills, including the ability to address difficult questions from the mock bench. The BPP Law School team were unanimously held to be the overall winners, evidencing the added skills of flair and compassion, for one of the most vulnerable groups in our LGBT+ community, those seeking asylum.”

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