LGBT Nigerian lesbian and her thirteen-year visa battle

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You should always believe in yourself, like this brave Nigerian lesbian. The celebration, which will take place in London this Sunday, will honour the LGBT rights activist after a painstakingly long battle to secure her residency. Apata, who came to the UK in 2004, has spent years battling for her asylum status to be recognised on the grounds that she is a lesbian.

Until 2012, Apata did not file for asylum as until 2010, lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers were often forcibly removed from the UK to their home countries if it was deemed safe for them to “live discreetly”. But for many including Apata, her orientation could have seen her be killed.

In the states of Kano and Katsina in Nigeria, Apata’s home country, the punishment for committing the offence of lesbianism is stoning to death. Yet when she attempted to gain official entry to the UK, she was accused of lying about her orientation. During her wait, she was sent to Yarl’s Wood detention centre, which has become infamous for human rights abuses.

It was when human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and the Lib Dem peer Liz Barker announced that they would attend Apata’s appeal that the tides started to turn. The Home Office announced that they would grant Apata asylum in August, and now she intends to fight on behalf of other LGBT people who want their safety secured in the UK.

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