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African gay and lesbian refugees: over £1,000 raised so far

By David Warden

David was the founding chair of Dorset County Council's LGBT Workers' Group which provided an opportunity for LGBT workers to meet and discuss any concerns. He was also LGBT Representative on the Bournemouth & Poole Holocaust Memorial Day committee. In this article, he provides an update on the situation for a group of LGBT refugees in Africa.

I've been greatly encouraged by the generous response of both humanists and Christians to my appeal for help for a group of gay and lesbian refugees in Africa. Some people give £10 or £20 and others give more substantial amounts. Every donation is greatly appreciated.

I was listening to a story on the radio today about the last men in Britain hanged for the crime of “sodomy”. They were James Pratt and John Smith, executed on November 27, 1835 – nearly two centuries ago. But the situation for gay people today, and others on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, is still very harsh in many countries such as Uganda.

My main contact is 28-year old Bobby. He shares his birthday with Charles Darwin. He fled Uganda four years ago when his sexuality was discovered. Had he been caught he would by now probably be serving a long prison sentence. But life in a UNHCR refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, has hardly been much better. This vast camp, with over 200,000 people, is receiving funds from international agencies specifically to help LGBT refugees, but Bobby tells me that nothing has been done in years to process their claims for asylum. This is partly because of political pressure. And so they have been stuck in limbo with little hope for the future. When they complained to the outside world this seems to have angered officials and made their situation worse. They get very meagre food rations, which has adversely impacted their health.

Bobby and several others have now moved to an alternative centre where their claims for asylum are being processed more efficiently. But food is still a problem – they need immediate assistance to buy additional supplies.

“Thank you so much David - we appreciate all the efforts and support of donors in the humanist group. Please convey my thanks and appreciation to all of them.” Bobby, via WhatsApp

Members of Dorset Humanists have recently given over £500 to this appeal, in particular at their Darwin Day Lunch in honour of Charles Darwin and also in celebration of Bobby's 28th birthday. Members of the Humanistically Speaking community have also made generous donations.

Any amount you can give to this appeal will go straight to help this group of refugees buy food and arrange travel. £14 pays for food for one person for a month. Any amount is greatly appreciated.

If you can help, even with a small donation, just click on the fundraiser below. Thank you! I will continue to provide monthly updates.

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