A group of people waving rainbow flags in a parade that showcases LGBTQI+ solidarity and pride.

With Liz Truss replacing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister today, we look at what she could do right away to support LGBTQI+ people in our asylum and immigration system. 

There is no doubt that recent government policy and legislation have put the lives of LGBTQI+ people at even greater risk. The Nationality and Borders Act has made it harder for people fleeing persecution to receive protection here, whilst the Rwanda plan threatens to send them thousands of miles away to a place where LGBTQI+ people face violence and discrimination.  

Boris Johnson’s government has also overseen a sharp rise in the number of people held in immigration detention in the last year, adding to his legacy of cruel immigration practices.  

But a new Prime Minister means there is a chance for a change of direction. We hope that Truss, former Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Minister for Women and Equalities, and a supporter of equal marriage, will reverse the downward trend, and halt the deterioration of rights for LGBTQI+ people seeking safety here. 

So here are three things Liz Truss could do to help LGBTQI+ people in the UK seeking asylum: 


1. End LGBTQI+ detention 

Immigration detention is unjust and inhumane. It separates people from their families and seriously damages their mental and physical health. For LGBTQI+ people, it can be particularly dangerous as they face bullying, harassment and abuse. The UK is the only country in Europe where people can be detained indefinitely, with no idea when they might be set free. 

Our No Pride in Detention campaign calls for an end to LGBTQI+ people being held in detention, and a 28-day time limit on all detention. These reforms are urgently needed to limit the damage of this harmful, unjust and expensive system. 

If you agree that our new Prime Minister should act now and end LGBTQI+ detention, please tweet Liz Truss today. 


2. Scrap the Rwanda plan 

In April 2022, the government announced plans to send people arriving in the UK to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed there. Although so far, the policy has been held up by legal challenges, the government is still planning flights for this year. 

Rwanda is not safe for LGBTQI+ people: they are not legally protected, and are subject to entrenched discrimination, violence and abuse, often from security officials. In the past Rainbow Migration has even supported LGBTQI+ Rwandans seeking safety in the UK.  

Innocent Uwimana, a gay man from Rwanda, told us how dangerous it is for LGBTQI+ people there and urges the government to ditch the proposal.  


“Being a sexual minority in Rwanda means living

in terror and violence.” Innocent Uwimana


Liz Truss has backed the catastrophic scheme so far, but she must scrap it and welcome asylum applications made in the UK instead. Banishing people thousands of miles away presents a real and present danger to anyone seeking asylum in the UK, and especially LGBTQI+ people.  


3. Reverse the changes to the standard of proof for asylum claims 

How would you prove your gender identity or sexual orientation if a total stranger asked you to? Providing evidence that you are LGBTQI+ is a huge obstacle to overcome. 

The new Nationality and Borders Act places unreasonable expectations on LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum by setting an even higher bar to “prove” their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and therefore increasing the likelihood of LGBTQI+ people being refused asylum.   

LGBTQI+ people fleeing persecution might have spent their entire lives hiding who they are for their own safety. The only evidence some will have is their own word. 

Proving sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or sex characteristics, is difficult and distressing, and passing a law that made it harder was heartless. Raising the standard of proof means hundreds, or even thousands, of LGBTQI+ people could be returned to countries where they face torture, imprisonment, or death. 

There are many points in the Nationality and Borders Act which need withdrawing but reversing changes to the standard of proof for asylum claims is urgent and could prevent the loss of LGBTQI+ lives.