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A lesbian Zimbabwean’s struggle for asylum in the UK

More than 1,500 people claim asylum in the UK each year, claiming that they are persecuted for being gay.

But it’s not an easy thing to prove.

Angel fled Zimbabwe in fear of her life after police found her in bed with another woman five years ago.

It’s taken most of the time since then for her to convince the UK authorities that she is gay and will be persecuted if she returns.

In 2015, she was interviewed by an official whose job was to work out whether she was lying.

For seven hours, the interviewer picked at the threads of her life story.

She explained that she was still scared to open up to people and that she still carried the stigma of being a lesbian heavy in her heart.

The interviewer didn’t seem satisfied and tried again.

Just a handful of encounters with women, no long-term relationships, no attempts at meeting women in the UK. Why then did Angel identify as a lesbian?

She struggled to find the words. “It is because of the feelings that I feel,” she said. “I have not been given a free platform to practice my sexuality.”


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