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


sexual orientation

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



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Meet Our Speakers! – African Rainbow Family Annual Conference, Manchester. 11/08/2018

The #MeToo unreported world of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refuge in the UK is real!

On Saturday, 11/8/2018, our amazing ‘Experts by Experience’ whom are members of African Rainbow Family (Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds branches) will share their personal realities of sexual abuse/exploitation, domestic abuse/violence, trafficking and modern day slavery.

Alongside our incredible friends and allies, Baroness Liz Barker, Carla Ecola, Julie Ward MEP, S Chelvan, Sandhya Sharma, Sophie Beer-O’Brien, Paul Dillane and Councillor Bev Craig; we would explore how to end these absurd practices. Read more about our speakers here. Robin Graham will entertain us too.

Join our WeAreHuman Manchester declaration campaign here.

Book A Stall At Unreported! Sexual Abuse & Exploitation of LGBTIQs Seeking Asylum, UK 

Book A Stall at African Rainbow Family’s Annual Conference 2018, Manchester.

Last year, African Rainbow Family had over 10 different organisations that took advantage of our successful 1st Annual Conference, LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester! to showcase once again the amazing works that they do. Report of the conference is available here.

We are delighted to announce that Manchester Migrant Solidarity, WAST Manchester, Safety4Sisters, FiLiA, Rainbow Noir, LGBT Foundation, LISG, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, Greater Manchester Law Centre and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group have already secured their stalls with us this year! You can still enjoy the same. Book a stall with us and see how much difference exhibiting your great work at our conference of expected 200+ delegates can make to your organisation. Limited stalls left, book here now!

African Rainbow Family has been incredibly blessed by the generosity of The Federation, Co-op Digital Olimpia BurchiellaroKirit Patel, through funding the Co-op Foundation has received from Omidyar Network and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group whom are 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 on how you can be involved this year or for 2019.

As you are aware, African Rainbow Family is a non-for profit charitable movement supporting over 250 LGBTIQ people seeking asylum (and still counting) in the UK whilst intensifying our work of global equality campaign for ‘A World Without Prejudice’. We operate with little or no money but rely on 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.

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

Unreported! Sexual/Domestic Abuse, Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking of LGBTIQ People Seeking Asylum in UK

With the current #MeToo movement, it is important to bring to the fore, that often times than none, majority of people seeking asylum are also subjected to various forms of sexual and domestic abuse from their partners and sexual exploitation from people who owe them duty of care.

It is important that we are not complacent and therefore ignore or loose scope of the bigger picture which entraps a large proportion of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and refuge’s community in the UK; whom have suffered sexual and domestic violence in the hands of their own family members which might necessarily include their partners.

Join African Rainbow Family on 11/08/2018 at our one day annual conference that will highlight the extent of active and subtle sexual / domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking that exists in the LGBTIQ people seeking asylum’s community. It is often thought that LGBTIQ people generally do not experience domestic abuse let alone people seeking asylum that have multiple intersectional identities.

Book your free tickets here.

The asylum and immigration process is however ever ganging and complex. The onus of proof is on LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in an hostile environment engrossed with deep rooted culture of disbelief that seeks to deport as many as possible just as in the Windrush Generation scandal.

As a result of the high standard of proof for LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to ‘proof’ their sexuality in order to be qualified for refugee status, many have been forced into abusive relationships whom they are forced to stick with for the period of their asylum applications being assessed and determined which could run into a year, two or more to resolve.

Most worryingly is the scale of sexual abuse and exploitation that takes place within LGBTIQ asylum seeking support groups by the staff/volunteers that run these groups. These volunteers and or staff owe the fragile survivors seeking asylum duty of care and not to take advantage of their vulnerability to sexually exploit them in the name of writing support letters for them to the Home Office to attest to their sexuality.

Our conference, Unreported! will involve people seeking asylum speak about our experiences of sexual abuse and violence that we have experienced and are still experiencing. Workshops on signs of sexual abuse and supports available for victims.

Speakers in the field of sexual and domestic abuse will share their knowledge and how the LGBTIQ asylum seeking community can be supported. Come up with solutions on how to tackle the above, send strong unacceptable messages out to asylum seeking support groups that are sexually exploiting and predating us, their members, make recommendations and call on the UK Home Office to review their policies that are set up for people to fail.

This conference is free however, we appreciate your generosity. Donate here


‘Experts by experience’ (LGBTIQ people seeking asylum and Refuge):

Veecca Smith Uka 

Veecca Smith Uka  is a lesbian woman and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Nigeria who is seeking safety in the UK based on her sexual orientation. Veecca is also the Secretary of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.


Arnold Keungmeue Nzetem:

Arnold Keungmeue Nzetem is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Central Africa Republic who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Arnold is also the Financial Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Joy Otabor 

Joy Otabor  is a lesbian woman and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Nigeria who is seeking safety in the UK based on her sexual orientation. Joy is also the Campaign Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.


Jean Francois Pondy

Jean Francois Pondy is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Cameroon who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Jean Francois is also the Publicity and Media Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Abdullahi Oluwatosin Soneye

Abdullahi Oluwatosin Soneye is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Nigeria who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Abdullahi is also the Assistant Financial Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Jean- Pierre Bilitik Mback

Jean- Pierre Bilitik Mback  is a gay man and LGBTIQ+ campaigner from Cameroon who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Jean- Pierre is also the Assistant Volunteer Director of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.



Charbel Fabrice NonyemeAboua  

Charbel Fabrice NonyemeAboua is a gay man from Benin Republic  who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Fabrice is a member of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.


Kate Hendickson

Kate Hendickson is a trans woman from Trinidad and Tobago who has been granted safety in the UK based on her gender identity. Kate is a member of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.


Lot Hongonekua

Lot Hongonekua is a gay man from Namibian who is seeking safety in the UK based on his sexual orientation. Lot is a member of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.

Aderonke Apata

Aderonke Apata is a multi awards winner human rights activist, feminist, LGBTIQ equality advocate and the founder of African Rainbow Family, a charitable organisation that supports the LGBTIQ community including those seeking asylum.


Baroness Liz Barker: 

Baroness Liz Barker is a Liberal Democrat Lords. She’s a Spokesperson for Voluntary Sector and Social Enterprise and a member of Liberal Democrat Policy Working Group on Liberty, Social Mobility, Status of Women, Future of the Voluntary Sector. Baroness Liz Barker has been on different Parliamentary Committees including Draft Mental Incapacity Bill, Draft Mental Health Bill, Mental Capacity Act 2005, Select Committee on Charities. Her policy interests include Asylum, immigration and nationality, Communities and families,  Health services and medicine, HIV, Housing and planning, LGBT and rights and equity, Population development and reproductive health and Social services.

Baroness Liz Barker has especially been a vocal voice on challenging the detention of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum in the UK. She is a very passionate ally of LGBTIQ people seeking asylum as she amplifies in the Parliament at every opportunity, the need for the government to make genuine reforms to the LGBTIQ asylum application process.

S. Chelvan:

S. Chelvan, Barrister, No5 Barristers’ Chambers, 2018 Attitude Awards.



Carla Ecola:

Carla Ecola, Director of The Outside Project, the UK’s first LGBTIQ+ crisis/homeless shelter. A grassroots project developed by people with lived experience of homelessness & the complex issues our community face.


Sandhya Sharma

Sandhya Sharma is a member of Safety4Sisters North West a Manchester based group that works with migrant women who have experienced gender based violence and have immigration issues.

Julie Ward MEP:

Julie Ward is a Labour MEP for the North West of England. She is also a writer, theatre-maker and cultural activist who began her working life on the factory floor before becoming a community arts worker and co-founder of a successful SME in the north of England, subsequently being named NE Woman Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. Julie was elected in 2014 and is a member of the European Parliament’s committees on Culture and Education, Regional Development and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. She’s a board member of the European Internet Forum, and a founding member of the European Caucus of Women in Parliament – a global forum.

Julie is also a children’s rights champion, having co-founded the European Parliament cross-party intergroup on Children’s Rights. She is also active on a number of other intergroups including Lifelong Learning, Disability, Youth, Common Goods & Public Services, Creative Industries, LGBTI, Anti-Poverty, Trade Unions and Social Economy, as well a Culture and Education committee representative to the inter-committee network on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Julie has a Masters in Education from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is the Labour Party’s spokesperson on education, sport and culture in Europe.

Robin Graham

Robin Graham has been leading laughter workshops and icebreakers since 1999 because laughter is a way of bringing people together.  He also is running a drinking water project in a community in Ghana and has been visiting friends in Ghana since 2001.

Sophie Beer-O’Brien

Sophie Beer-O’Brien is Project Co-ordinator – Wellbeing at LGBT Foundation.

Paul Dillane

Paul Dillane is Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, a leading NGO working to advance human rights and inclusion for LGBT people internationally. Founded in 2011, Kaleidoscope Trust partners with 35+ organisations in countries where LGBT people face discrimination, criminalisation and persecution. Following a career in law, Paul worked for six years as a human rights and refugee law specialist at Amnesty International UK. Paul is a leading expert on the protection of LGBT refugees and was the Executive Director of UKLGIG, a London-based NGO working to provide practical support to LGBT people fleeing persecution, between 2014-17.

Councillor Bev Craig

Bev is a Labour Councillor for Burnage and sits on the City Council’s Executive. An LGBT rights activist for over 15 years she is the councils political lead on LGBT women’s issues and in May took on responsibility for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Manchester.


Sponsors who have kindly agreed to make our second Annual Conference a success include:

The Federation (venue):

Twitter: @FederationMCR


Co-op Digital (catering):

Twitter: @CoopDigital


Olimpia Burchiellaro (printing)

Kirit Patel

‘supported by the Co-op Foundation and Omidyar Network’.


UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group

32-36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH P: +44 20 7922 7812. T: @uklgig


Lesbian Visibility Day – We Are Human

Lesbian Visibility Day – We Are Human

The Lesbian Visibility Day means a lot. It is for us as lesbians to celebrate our richness in diversity, be proud of ourselves and work in solidarity with other oppressed groups. To me, I see it as a day when we celebrate whom we are as non conforming to heteronormative narrative and ask for freedom for those denied freedom to be who they are especially lesbian people seeking asylum hence African Rainbow Family celebrates Lesbian Visibility Day as we use it to also continually raise awareness about lesbian people of colour and demanding a fair and humane asylum system for lesbians as part of our vital work in supporting people seeking asylum.

“I find my invitation to the European Parliament to speak about issues faced by lesbians seeking asylum in Europe including the demand to end detention, deportation and unsafe living conditions for lesbian* people seeking asylum and refugees at the European Lesbian* Conference (EL*C), organised in collaboration with the European’s Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights to be well thoughtful and positive steps in expanding the conversation to be inclusive of lesbians of colour and those seeking sanctuary” says Aderonke Apata, founder of African Rainbow Family.

It is important that we are visible as lesbians in order to avoid our erasure! There are many lesbians around the world that live in fear of freely identifying as one in countries that criminalise love especially in the 36 Commonwealth countries where love is illegal including Nigeria that also has death penalty in place. The more we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day, continue the conversation; the more we raise awareness around the fact that love is not illegal, encourage lesbians in the closet to ‘come out’ and demand their freedom to be who they are.
This brings me back home to lesbian women that are seeking asylum in the UK and other countries alike. The treatment of lesbians seeking asylum in the UK by the Home Office is disgraceful and appalling! This dates back to the homophobia exported to Commonwealth countries by Britain; although Prime Minister Theresa May has apologised for this. The culture of disbelief of lesbians seeking asylum is egregious, we are locked up indefinitely in detention centre and a high proportion get deported cruelly back to their countries to face torture. The institutionalised homophobia of Home Office is of the highest order; they believe that you cannot be a lesbian and have child(ren) or have been married previously due to conforming to societal norms. This is one of the reasons why Lesbian Visibility Day is so important.

Sign up to our #WeAreHuman Manchester declaration here

Read more about the European Lesbian* Conference (EL*C), here.

We Are Human – Manchester Declaration

We Are Human Pledge


2017 African Rainbow Family Part of History Conference Manchester Communiqué

The Manchester Declaration 21st June 2017, Manchester

As we know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ (UN General Assembly, 1948). It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

Article 14 of this declaration states, ‘everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution’. 

In 36 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries, love is criminalised; including death penalty in 9 of these 36 countries. It is evident that Britain exported this homophobic law to these countries during colonial era. This has given rise to people fleeing their home countries to seek asylum in LGBT+ friendly countries, including the United Kingdom (UK). Other people flee for different reasons too such as war, trafficking, domestic abuse, genital mutilation, violence against women etc. 

It is however, saddening that under belly racism has crept in to the UK  institutions when it comes to upholding these rights for individuals fleeing any form of persecutions from the state and non state agents of their home countries hence the dehumanisation of people has become the order of the day. This they achieve when referring to people seeking sanctuary as asylum seekers; a nomenclature that has slipped into the wider society and subsequently created disharmony in the community.

In view of the above, it was agreed at the African Rainbow Family Conference in June 21st 2017, Manchester that the conversation needs to change!

sign the pledge

A description that connotes the image of scroungers, including they come to ‘take our job’, ‘live on our benefits’, ‘use our NHS for free’, etc.

This culture of dehumanisation of people seeking asylum is contrary to Article 6 of the declaration which states, ‘everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law’ (UN General Assembly, 1948); which the UK signed up to.

The use of this derogatory classification unconsciously, has toxically led to inadvertent internalised racism by the people seeking asylum themselves and their dehumanisation by those supporting them. People therefore portray themselves as they were intended to be portrayed! – less human, beggars, scroungers, unworthy etc.

The We Are Human campaign is asking that you join us in pledging to change the conversation and refer to us as (LGBT) People Seeking Asylum And Refuge.

sign the pledge

Below are the organisations and individuals that have signed up to this declaration and refer to us as (LGBT) people seeking asylum. Contact us if you would like to sign this declaration, and pledge to call us People Seeking Asylum because We Are Human and not born asylum seekers!

To sign up to the declaration on behalf of an organisation or yourself, send an email to with the following information:

Organisation, Name, Position in organisation or sign up above. Use #WeAreHuman on social media.

Aderonke Apata – Founder African Rainbow Family

African Rainbow Family

Manchester Migrant Solidarity

Greater Manchester Law Centre

LGBT Foundation

Diane Hughes

Elop – Abimbola Aroyewun


Tony Openshaw – Writer at Alternative Asylum News. Previous Founder and Manager of Asylum Support Housing Advice (ASHA)

Fazilet Sadiq – Refugee member LISG


Helen Jarvis

Joanne Crumplin – Rep, USDAW

Trade Union Congress Northern (TUC Northern)

Beth Farhat – TUC

Lesbian and Gay Support the Miners

Virginie Assal – Women’s Programme Inclusion Officer, LGBT Foundation

Karen Daniels –  Secretary, Unite the Union, Hull and East Riding Branch, NE/407/27

Kim Rothman – Supervisor, HCAL


Genevra Afford – Service Support Officer, Hull Culture & Leisure Ltd

Sebastian Aguirre

Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants

Sarah Blossom – Sloace

Lionel Kahiha

Kai Javed – Sexual Harassment Advisor, The Angelou Centre

Francisco Peixoto

LGBT Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester!

Twitter size CMeet Our Speakers @AfricanRainbow1 #LGBTRefugees Tell Their Stories,Celebrate 50 yrs of UK #LGBT law reform 21/6/17 join free seminar at Methodist Hall, Oldham Street Manchester. M1 1JQ.

LGBTI Asylum Seekers & Refugees Tell Their Stories In Manchester!


Meet Our Speakers @AfricanRainbow1 #LGBTRefugees Tell Their Stories,Celebrate 50 yrs of UK #LGBT law reform 21/6/17 join free seminar at Methodist Hall, Oldham Street Manchester. M1 1JQ.

PRESS RELEASE African Rainbow Family has been shortlisted for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards.

Press Release

04 July 2017, Manchester

African Rainbow Family has been shortlisted!

African Rainbow Family has been shortlisted for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards.

Dear friends,

We are delighted to announce that African Rainbow Family from Manchester has been shortlisted for the Community Organisation for LGBT at the National Diversity Awards 2017.

Charities and role models from across the UK will gather at the breathtaking Anglican Cathedral on September 08th 2017 for the UK’s largest celebration of diversity.

The best of British diversity will travel to Liverpool to showcase the outstanding achievements of those who have demonstrated their devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in today’s society.

Over 22,000 nominations and votes were received this year, paying tribute to grass root communities nationwide.

African Rainbow Family, a dedicated support group for LGBTIQ refugees, people of African heritage and wider BAME community in the UK says:

 “The prestigious black tie event is definitely one to mark down on your calendar and provides recognition for excellence regardless of race, faith, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability and culture.”

Microsoft will be just one of the brands supporting a skyfall of diverse talent alongside joint Headline Sponsors Direct Line Group.

Paul Geddes, CEO, Direct Line Group said ” We know that having a diverse workforce not only brings in more talent, it increases the variety of thinking, enabling us to have a better understanding of our customers’ needs in an ever-changing Britain.”

“The momentum is gathering pace” he continued “but there is more all businesses can do to pave the way for change. We are therefore honoured to be sponsoring the National Diversity Awards to celebrate the success of role models, businesses and organisations who are leading the way to true diversity and inclusion in our society.”

Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s are supported by the likes of Stephen Fry, Adam Hills and Sir Lenny Henry amongst many.

TV Presenter Graham Norton Said “Promoting and celebrating diversity is close to my heart which is why I am thrilled to support The National Diversity Awards! I want to wish all of this year’s shortlisted nominees the best of luck for the ceremony, you all deserve to win!’’

Previous winners include Huddersfield based Disability Theatre Group Shabang!, Freedom Fighting Refugee Aderonke Apata, and Transgender Support Charity Mermaids.

Internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, Rachel looked back on her time winning the positive role model award in 2013 “It truly was a tremendously uplifting emotional evening, and I don’t think there was a single person in the room who would disagree with that! The evening represented everything that is good about our society”.

Rachel went on to receive the award for battling successfully against a potentially life limiting illness to produce works of art that are applauded worldwide.

She continued “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating an exceptional night, the challenges ahead are still enormous, but with the ND Award in my hand, I will journey forward with renewed hope and ambition to try to do so much more, and in my efforts, hopefully I will, in some way, contribute to making the vital cultural shift within our society.”

Paul Sesay, Founder and CEO of The National Diversity Awards said “I am so proud to be able to witness the journeys of some of the most inspiring role models this country has to offer. Each year I am overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of nominations, and those shortlisted should know how privileged I am to share your stories with the nation. You are all winners and I can’t wait to meet you at the ceremony.”

To view a full list of nominees please visit

To help our work, consider donating to African Rainbow Family here


Get Involved

NDA Awards

Vote For Us!
We are excited to announce that African Rainbow Family has been nominated for Community Organisation Award for LGBT in The National Diversity Awards 2017!  Please vote here.Yes We Can Win With Your Help! We need your votes, share it widely and ask your friends and families to vote for us.
Vote here now for African Rainbow Family as Community Organisation for LGBT Awards. Remember to hit the button as voting closes on 9th June 2017!

Vote Now


Exhibition Stand Hire!
We have also created the opportunity for you to hire an exhibition stand on the day of our LGBTI Asylum Seekers and Refugees Tell Their Stories in Manchester seminar on 21st June 2017, details hereThis, we believe would help to showcase your organisation and the great works that you do!Book your exhibition stall with us for the whole day of the seminar, display what you do and see how much results come afterwards from telling our expected 200+ guests from different walks of life what amazing works you do! 

Booking Rates: 
Stall only – £10
Stall + information of your organisation to be included in our delegate packs – £15.00

Please indicate your preference on the booking form

Book here or contact for details.
Limited spaces left!

Book Now


African Rainbow Family Logo OL 16-04

We Need Your Help!
We rely on good will like yours!

Donate to help us create an amazing radical and social justice change environment in the LGBTI asylum application process in UK Immigration system and fight LGBTI+ inequality globally.
Every little helps!

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