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African Rainbow Family

Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTIQ) People of African Heritage including Refugees and wider Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Groups

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LGBTQ+ History Month: The History Decides the Future!

Photo credit: Nadim Uddin, African Rainbow Family‘s Media and Communications Volunteer, 2021.

Just like the Bible, history is more like a proof of existence. History gives meaning to the present. History is a reference when we need to gain strength.

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Throughout the month of February each year, over the past few years, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ History Month and it is a time we remember all those who fought for our existence and freedom.

African Rainbow Family‘s Media and Communications Volunteer, Vanessa Nessakem Nwosu writes:

“Personally, it means a lot to me because knowing that my queerness exists past and present gives me so much relevance. It means that I am not alone and it gives me strength to become more of myself. Knowing history adds to my relevance, as a queer woman seeking asylum, it is from reading about women like Audre Lorde that I gain strength in who I am. I am not ashamed, I am empowered just by knowing my queerness exist past and present.”

Nadim Uddin, another African Rainbow Family‘s Media and Communications Volunteer, writes:

“LGBT History Month to me, is to remember those without rights. To remember how we got rights. Raise awareness about historical and current progress and challenges for LGBTQ+ people. To support those raising awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity, equality and diversity. To learn how to change the world. To remember how far we’ve come, even recently.

Nadim reminds us that Winston Churchill famously said: “History is written by the victors.”

The women I celebrate this month are Marsha P Johnson, Audre Lorde and Anne Lister. I choose these women because I see little parts of myself in them. I see the courage I am still hoping to build from them. I see my future in them. Learning from past heroes means looking at their strengths and finding ways to make yours. I want to be outspoken and bold as Marsha. I want to be confident and be a warrior like Audre and I want to live openly and document all my Sapphic encounters just like Anne Lister.” Vanessa continues.

Marsha P Johnson. Photo credit: NBC New

“History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.” Marsha P Johnson.

Audre Lorde. Photo credit: BBC 3 Free Thinking.

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” -Audre Lorde.

Anne Lister Photo Credit: bridgemanimages 

“I know my own heart and understand my fellow man. But I am made unlike anyone I have ever met. I dare to say I am like no one in the whole world.” Anne Lister.

The above are my favourite quotes from my heroes and I hope it speaks to you. We can only write our history if we speak up. Document your life, do not be erased,do not be silent. For every closeted person there is an out person who lives an exemplary life for you to learn from. It doesn’t mean you have to come out, it means that you are not alone and you can be happy. This is what LGBT history means to me. Vanessa says.

Happy LGBTQ+ History Month, 2021.

Ends.

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Job Vacancy

We are recruiting!

African Rainbow Family and Manchester Migrant Solidarity, we are two leading UK grassroots charity and community group founded by, led by and run by and for LGBTIQ+ and non-LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to providing support to vulnerable LGBTIQ+ and non-LGBTIQ people who are seeking asylum in the UK. We are recruiting for a new, exciting role as part of our growing team.

Position details

Position title:                       Support Services Manager – Refugee Support

Salary:                                  GBP 24,000 to 26,000 per annum depending on experience.

Position category/type:      Migrant & Refugee Services

Date posted:                        13/11/2020

Application closing date:    28/11/2020

Interview date:                     11/12/2020

Location:                              African Rainbow Family’s (ARF) and Manchester

Migrant Solidarity’s (MiSol) offices are based in The Monastery, Gorton Lane, Manchester. M12 5WF, ARF has branches in Birmingham, Leeds and London which requires monthly travel to each branch. Currently, all ARF’s and MiSol’s Coordinators and volunteers are working from home due to Covid-19. A mix of working at home and/or the office is likely for the foreseeable future. When face-to-face service delivery resumes, there might be occasional travel outside of Manchester and these branches with plenty of notice.

Contract type:                     Permanent and Full Time One year fixed term with possibility of extension depending on funding availability

Full Time:                             
37.5 hours per week

Package:                              We offer a wide range of staff benefits, these include:

• 33 days holiday (including Bank Holidays)

• Up to 8% contributory pension

• Flexible working policy – online/remote due to Covid-19

Please click links below to access the full application pack: Job Description, Person Specification and Policy on Recruitment of Ex-Offenders


HOW TO APPLY: Please read the job description and person specification. Email your completed application form and optional monitoring form to info@africanrainbowfamily.org. The successful applicant will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check and to disclose all non-protected criminal records at the point of conditional job offer.


ACCEPTING MYSELF

"At a point I put my hands up and gradually I started to accept myself, sounds easy but there were and are still moments I fall back because of homophobic comments and all that stuff but I always come back stronger after I look within."

At a point I put my hands up and gradually I started to accept myself, sounds easy but there were and are still moments I fall back because of homophobic comments and all that stuff but I always come back stronger after I look within.

They say your life begins when you find yourself because then you see your path clearly but is finding yourself easy?

I’d call that a rhetorical question because nothing on the surface of the earth is easy. Growing up wasn’t easy, In fact I had the type of childhood you would see in the Willoughby’s but not that it ended in me rescuing my parents lolz.

When you grow up in a family that’s all about reputation, religion, education you automatically want to do everything to be that or fix that box even when you were made to stand out. Everyone who knew me from way back knows I wasn’t like the other girls, I was a tomboy or girl boy like they call it and it wasn’t that I wanted to be a man and get all the girls, I just loved dressing up like that, with no makeup I was comfortable that way. Under that whole tomboy I was the most feminine woman you can imagine with hips I couldn’t escape lol … To be honest I’d never trade my hips or bum for anything and no, it’s not for a man. I mostly wore shirts, trainers and trousers and when I wore a skirt I still looked like a tomboy.

Talking about being a tomboy, there was a point in my life where I would get angry if you called me that partly because I had not accepted that I love women and because of the stereotype. My excuse would be I grew up with imaginary boys around and I adopted their behaviour and style well I mostly had boys around me but it wasn’t because of them. I just was a tomboy. If I ever looked at a guy I did so because I wanted to copy his dress style or make mine.

My mum hated that I wouldn’t wear heels and dress up, make my hair and all that comes between and I would tell her “guys love me like this”. Well they did I must tell you and if you ask me I don’t know why. That part of me (being a tomboy) I struggled with because no matter how feminine I tried to look you can tell by the way I walked, I was hiding who I was and it’s safe to say you can call me a TOMBOY and I won’t blink because I finally love myself.

Another part of my life I struggled with was and is my sexuality, it has been there right in front of me even when I try to run from it. I started off thinking I was just having girl crush like the one I had for Genevieve Nnaji where I imagined meeting her and we would talk and she would like me and blah blah! Some say when you go to an all girls secondary school you become a lesbian and when I hear that it sounds funny to me because before secondary school I had started having these feelings even if I didn’t know what to make of them.

Every LGBTQ person must have at one point tried to pray away who they are or given in to religious talks because apparently religion rules our thinking. No matter how you see me I love JESUS and at that I felt like me being myself was driving him from me or I was the worse sinner on earth. I went to church, prayed and even fasted but still it was like GOD kept saying “don’t run from who you are”.

 At a point I put my hands up and gradually I started to accept myself, sounds easy but there were and are still moments I fall back because of homophobic comments and all that stuff but I always come back stronger after I look within.

It’s a gradual process that should not be rushed at all, live your life, doubt yourself, question yourself but never belittle yourself or try to change who you are for anybody and I’ll say the way I accepted myself was I said to myself if it’s Love then it’s not a sin. If you love who you are, you are who you are meant to be. Accept yourself and others will keep up…

End. London 29th June 2020.

Vanessa Nwosu: Member, African Rainbow Family, London branch.

@Nessakem

Apply: Job Vacancy!

Time Extended! Due to overall quality of applications received, deadline to apply now extended till 10th December 2019!

We are recruiting!

Closing date: 10/12/2019

Grassroots Coordinator – Refugee Support
Location: Manchester
Contract type: Permanent
Full Time 35 hours per week
Salary: GBP 23,660
 per annum

Are you passionate about supporting and campaigning for the rights of people seeking asylum, migrants and refugees including those that are LGBTIQ+ who are in vulnerable situations in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and London?

As a result of grants from The Oglesby Charitable Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Ben & Jerry’s Foundation; Manchester Migrant Solidarity and African Rainbow Family are recruiting for a full time Grassroots Coordinator. The Grassroots Coordinator would work 35 hours weekly across both groups, 3 days per week with Manchester Migrant Solidarityand 2 days per week with African Rainbow Family from the same office.

Download the application pack here:

Grassroots Coordinator – Cover LetterGrassroots Coordinator Job Description and Person Specification , Job Application Form  and Policy on the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders

It would involve working with groups that campaign for social change, advocate for justice for people who are seeking asylum including those who are lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, intersex (LGBTI+), provide support services for refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants in vulnerable situations in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and London areas.

In this role, you will ensure the provision of high-quality, holistic person-centred, advice, advocacy support, empowerment and campaigning for social change for people in a range of complex and crisis related situations. You will ensure the groups’ practical peer support continue to thrive.

The end

Apply: Job Vacancy!

Grassroots Coordinator – Refugee Support
Location: Manchester
Contract type: Permanent
Full Time 35 hours per week
Salary: GBP 23,660
 per annum

We are recruiting!

Are you passionate about supporting and campaigning for the rights of people seeking asylum, migrants and refugees including those that are LGBTIQ+ who are in vulnerable situations in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and London?

As a result of grants from The Oglesby Charitable Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Ben & Jerry’s Foundation; Manchester Migrant Solidarity and African Rainbow Family are recruiting for a full time Grassroots Coordinator. The Grassroots Coordinator would work 35 hours weekly across both groups, 3 days per week with Manchester Migrant Solidarityand 2 days per week with African Rainbow Family from the same office.

Download the application pack here:

Grassroots Coordinator – Cover LetterGrassroots Coordinator Job Description and Person Specification , Job Application Form  and Policy on the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders

It would involve working with groups that campaign for social change, advocate for justice for people who are seeking asylum including those who are lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, intersex (LGBTI+), provide support services for refugees, people seeking asylum and migrants in vulnerable situations in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and London areas.

In this role, you will ensure the provision of high-quality, holistic person-centred, advice, advocacy support, empowerment and campaigning for social change for people in a range of complex and crisis related situations. You will ensure the groups’ practical peer support continue to thrive.

The end

Featured post

The Report: Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum

African Rainbow Family
A World Without Prejudice

Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum

On 11th August 2018 in Manchester, African Rainbow Family held our second annual conference, Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum.

The conference attracted delegates from diverse walks of life with speakers whom are  ‘Experts by Experience’ (our members), including speakers from the House of Lords – Baroness Liz Barker, European Parliament – Julie Ward MEP, Manchester City Council – Councillor Bev Craig , No5 Chambers – Barrister S. Chelvan, grassroot organisations such as The Outside Project – Carla Ecola, Safety4Sisters – Sandhya Sharma as well as LGBT Foundation – Sophie. The report from the conference is available here.

‘Experimental’ data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 – 31/03/17) shows that over two third of  3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected. 2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved (Home Office Asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation EXPERIMENTAL STATISTICS 2017).

“In view of the immense pressure placed on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum by a way of the high bar sexuality proof policy of the Home Office, people feel desperate to prove their sexuality and or gender identity hence fall prey to sexual predators, abusive relationships, modern day slavery and all sorts of abuse” says Aderonke Apata, LGBTIQ activist and Founder, African Rainbow Family. The full report can be accessed here. You can also DOWNLOAD now.

The conference also enjoyed good will and generosity from various individuals and organisations that sponsored different parts of the event.  Sponsors are The FederationCo-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma and Toby Bakare. We were also ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’, Greater Manchester Unite Social Action Branch, UNISON NW LGBT SELF ORGANISED GROUP and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group.

African Rainbow Family relies heavily on volunteers in delivering the essential work we do with LGBTIQ people seeking asylum. Should you feel like supporting our work to make practical social change, do consider donating here or contact us through info@africanrainbowfamily.org to discuss different options on how you might like to support our work.

END

Press Release: LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

LGBTIQ refugee conference calls for end to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of LGBTIQ refugees and high standard of proof sexuality policy

  • Conference exposes unreported sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic violence and servitude  in LGBTIQ people seeking asylum community
  • Refugee speakers will tell of their experiences of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and domestic violence. Explore ongoing plight of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in UK
  • Conference will encourage victims to come forward for their voices to be heard
  • Call for Home Office to drop its high standard of proof sexuality policy

Manchester will host again, the second LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee conference today [11th August], shining the light on the extent of active and subtle sexual and  domestic abuse, sexual exploitation, modern day slavery and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community in the UK. Mostly perpetrated by people who owe them duty of care.

The conference will, following the #METOO movement, feature LGBTIQ refugee speakers telling their personal experiences of abuse, exploring how the hostile environment which seeks to deport as many people as possible in order to meet Home Office’s  set targets, such as in the Windrush Generation; has reinforced a high standard of proof sexuality policy in the Home Office leading to many LGBTIQs being refused asylum and highlighting the plight still faced by LGBTIQ people seeking asylum today.

In many countries, particularly in Africa, homosexuality remains illegal and violent attacks on LGBTIQ people are common. Many are forced to flee, some to the UK, after being publicly ‘outed’.

Gay people seeking asylum coming to the UK face significant barriers. The Home Office culture of disbelief has meant that it refuses to accept that any LGBTIQ seeking asylum are homosexual unless they provide ‘proof of sexuality’. This position is an extremely toxic shift towards high number of deportation following the ruling in 2010 which prohibits the Home Office from deporting LGBTIQ people seeking asylum on the grounds that they could ‘be discreet’ about their sexuality in their home country to avoid harm.

We know that the Home Office has and continues to illegally and forcibly deport many LGBTIQ people seeking asylum through its brutal charter flight methods.

‘Experimental’ data released by the Home Office in November 2017 for LGBT+ asylum cases (01/07/15 – 31/03/17) shows that over two third of  3,535 asylum applications made partly as LGBT+ were rejected.
2,379 clear LGBT+ claims were rejected, with only 838 approved.

The conference is being organised by African Rainbow Family (ARF), a charitable group that supports LGBTIQ people of African heritage and wider BAME in the UK. ARF works with the growing African LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refugee communities including wider BAME who face harassment, hate crimes and discrimination.
It will see a call on the Home Office to abandon its ‘high standard of proof sexuality policy, which ARF says is demeaning, humiliating, dehumanising, cruel and a driver of the culture of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation in their community.

Speakers will include:

  • Baroness Liz Barker, Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords
  • Barrister S. Chelvan, LGBTIQ No5 Barristers’ Chambers, 2018 Attitude Awards
  • ‘Experts by Experience’ (LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and Refuge)
  • Paul Dillane, Chief Executive of Kaleidoscope Trust
  • Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West of England
  • Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter.
  • Bev Craig, Labour Councillor for Burnage
  • Aderonke Apata LGBTIQ campaigner and founder, African Rainbow Family

Aderonke Apata, Founder of the ARF and a long-term campaigner on LGBTIQ asylum, who is also speaking at the conference, said:

“We are starting a cultural revolution which forms a platform to inspire LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to come forward, tell their experiences of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and let their voices to be heard in order for us to see consequences in terms of their perpetrators who owe them a duty of care to be brought to justice.

“The Home Office’s high standard of proof policy drives a culture of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, modern day slavery and all forms of emotional, psychological and mental problems in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community

“I ask that the Home Office drops their high standard of proof in sexuality policy as well as the wider asylum applications.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

More information and tickets to the conference: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/unreported-sexual-abuse-exploitation-of-lgbtiqs-seeking-asylum-uk-tickets-48018563817

More information about the African Rainbow Family: https://africanrainbowfamily.org/

For press request, contact: aderonkeapata@africanrainbowfamily.org and                                    info@africanrainbowfamily.org

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in 72 countries and in 14 is punishable by lengthy imprisonment and in 8, death – including in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Pakistan.

Our sponsors:
The Federation Co-op Digital, Olimpia Burchiellaro, Kirit Patel, Sandhya Sharma, UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group, we are ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’.

It’s Here! – Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK

It’s Here!

Friends,

Count down to our second Annual Conference Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK on 11/8/18 in Manchester is here! What are you waiting for? You can’t afford to miss it!! Book your ticket here. Invite your friends and share the event with your networks!!!

African Rainbow Family is grateful to the generosity of the following sponsors: The FederationCo-op Digital Olimpia BurchiellaroKirit Patel. We are also ‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’ and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group whom are all sponsoring different parts of our Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK 2018 Annual Conference!  You and or your organisation can still join our valuable sponsors this year to sponsor other bits of the conference. Contact info@africanrainbowfamily.org on how you can be involved this year or for 2019.

We rely on goodwill of people like you. Can you help? Will you chip in £5, £10 or more every month to help our work? We would remain grateful for that. Contact us or visit our website for details of how to set up a monthly standing order, make one off donation and other ways to support to us.

Meet Our Sponsors of Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK

Meet Our Sponsors

The incredible sponsors who have kindly agreed to make our second Annual Conference,  #MeToo Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK on 11/8/2018 in Manchester a success and sponsoring different parts of our Conference include:

The Federation (venue): http://www.thefederation.coop/  Twitter: @FederationMCR

Co-op Digital (catering): https://digitalblog.coop.co.uk/

Twitter: @CoopDigital

Olimpia Burchiellaro (printing) https://www.facebook.com/quimerassinfronteras

Kirit Patel  (Charing panel)

Sandhya Sharma (Chairing panel)

(Digital/Tech) through funding the Co-op Foundation has received from Omidyar Network

 

UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (Report Facilitator’s Fee) 32-36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH P: +44 20 7922 7812. T: @uklgig

You and or your organisation can still join our valuable sponsors this year to sponsor other bits of the conference. Contact info@africanrainbowfamily.org on how you can be involved this year or for 2019. Still contemplating if you would like to attend the conference on 11/8/18? Now is the time to  book your ticket here!

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