Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bisexual woman to be deported to Nigeria

Gay people who have sought asylum in the UK because of their sexuality (most recently this young Iranian man whose lover was murdered by the state) often have to fight really hard to convince the authorities of their need for sanctuary. Thank God he was eventually allowed to stay; often they are sent back to – at the very least – danger.

Jane Okojie’s case in Canada – as reported below on the queer Canadian website Xtra – is the first time I have heard of a bisexual person seeking asylum. Perhaps it will make those people who think bisexuality is a doddle think again. Sadly, in the UK at least, even imminent risk of death doesn't always mean you are safe.

Time is running out for a bisexual woman who has been denied refugee status in Canada. Jane Okojie is scheduled to be deported to Nigeria on Thu, Jul 10 where she says she and her two children will face persecution because of her bisexuality.

"I don't know what to do," says Okojie. "I am more afraid for my children than for myself. There are so many things going on in my head, I cannot think properly."

"She's very scared," says Nastaran Roushan of the immigrant and refugee rights group No One Is Illegal, which is holding a rally in support of Okojie on Tue, Jul 8 at 11am in front of the offices of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (Toronto, 50 St Clair Ave E). "She fears for her life. If she goes back with her children, she has no one there. Her family has shunned her because she is bisexual. She doesn't have any money and nowhere to go. If she's arrested [her children] will be without a mother. They'll already face extreme discrimination because they were both born out of wedlock, and in fact, Samuel has already endured a lot of harassment while growing up there."

A victim of sexual violence and domestic abuse in her home country, Okojie says she fled Nigeria after being beaten by locals in her village and detained in prison after it was discovered she was bisexual.

"In Nigeria things are very bad for lesbians and gay people," says Okojie. "If you are a bisexual or lesbian or gay you can be stoned to death and you can be sentenced to prison for many many years. The government doesn't care."

There’s more here:

Good luck Jane. Nigeria sounds a tough place to be queer. Will someone let me know how she has got on?


Saranga said...

No doubt the authorities will advise her to pass as straigh and be utterly shocked if anyone suggests that this is not an appropriate and is actually quite a vile solution.

Katerina said...

wow...that's beyond sad, it's very scary!

BTW....I'm featuring your blog on my blog, "Queer Blogs" tomorrow 7/17/08 Check out your post if you like.

I'll be back!

Sue George said...

I've tried to find out what has happened in the week since - as far as I know - she was deported, but no luck yet.

enhancement said...

That's just shameful. We should show those countries that we don't accept those violations. Hope she managed to survive.