The Nationality and Borders Bill that is being voted on in Parliament this week will make it even more difficult for LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum to prove their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The charity Rainbow Migration calls on MPs to vote against the Nationality and Borders Bill, which, among other sweeping changes, will increase the standard of proof for assessing whether someone is LGBTQI+ from the internationally accepted standard of “reasonable degree of likelihood” to the higher level of “balance of probabilities”.

It is inherently difficult for anyone to prove their sexual orientation or gender identity, and even more so for those who may have spent years trying to hide the fact that they are LGBTQI+. In many cases, the only “evidence” someone has is their own testimony. They have to talk about the most personal or intimate aspects of their lives in front of a complete stranger, who then decides if they believe them or not.

Rainbow Migration’s Executive Director Leila Zadeh said, “If this change becomes law, more LGBTQI+ people in need of our protection will be refused asylum and returned to countries where they could face torture, imprisonment or death”.

Earlier in November a report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration revealed Home Office productivity targets were already preventing asylum decision-makers from adequately assessing claims based on sexual orientation.

Proving that you are gay – real life example from Still Falling Short
A claimant who described how a schoolboy friendship grew into a same-sex sexual relationship when the boys were around 13 and 17 respectively was challenged for not having a date for the anniversary of the start of the relationship and being able to remember only a particular school trip as the time when the liaison started. Then, the interviewer asked whether the boys went out for a meal, or went out or to socialise, which would have been, under the circumstances, a culturally inappropriate expectation.