Queer Malaysian who was told he was not gay enough to gain asylum stays in the UK

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67-year-old Yew Fook Sam was granted a five year leave to remain in the UK, where he had arrived in 2005 to escape homophobic persecutions in his native Malaysia, that punishes people for being gay with up to 20 years behind bars. In 2016, immigration officials detained him for 10 months for working illegally. Trapped in an immigration centre before being housed in Home office accommodation in Liverpool. In this city he created bonds with LGBT rights groups, took part in numerous Pride events and gained many friends who were LGBT. However, Sam’s status was plunged into disarray after immigration authorities rejected his claim because they doubted he was gay as he did not have relationships with a man at that moment. As a result, Liverpool’s LGBT+ community as well as Sam’s church banded together and started a petition that ultimately tallied nearly 5,000 signatures pleading for Sam to be allowed to stay in the country.

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