Victory party to be held in honour of Nigerian lesbian whose legal battle lasts more than a decade

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A celebration in honour of LGBT Nigerian activist Aderonke Apata is set to be held after she received British asylum as a result of 13-year visa battle. 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, that is why Apata could not receive asylum. In the states of Kano and Katsina in Nigeria, Apata’s home country, women are punished by stoning to death for lesbianism. Yet when she was battling to remain officially in the UK, her sexuality was in question, authorities did not believe her to be a lesbian.“What is believed is that you have presented yourself as a lesbian solely to establish a claim for international protection in an attempt to thwart your removal … It is considered that your actions are not genuine and simply a cynical way of gaining status in the UK,” a judge ruled. It was through her high profile campaign, persistent litigation and representations from her legal team, S. Chelvan and Sean McLoughlin including 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.

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