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Tuesday, March 29, 2016


A lesbian asylum seeker claims UK authorities asked her to hand over sex pictures to prove her sexuality.

Skhumbuzo Khumalo made the decision to leave her home country of Zimbabwe to claim asylum in the UK in 2014, after she suffered a brutal attack from the police.

Although female homosexuality isn’t considered a crime in Zimbabwe, lesbians and bisexual women face the same violence and threat to their lives as the rest of the LGBTI community.

In the UK, Khumalo spent weeks at a detention center and only narrowly escaped deportation – an experience that left her deeply shaken and contemplating suicide.

‘At some point I thought of suicide, because me ending my own life is much better than people back home ending my life,’ she said in a video produced by UK charity Fixers, in which she recounts her whole experience.

After her first screening interview, Khumalo was brought to Glasgow where she later faced another, five-hour interview.
‘Clearly just by looking at you, they will not judge if you are gay or straight,’ she said.

‘So they left me in a position where I had to produce intimate photos, which I didn’t feel comfortable sharing.’

‘The officer began flicking through the photos while I was sat in front of him. It was extremely degrading.’

He then asked Khumalo whether she could possibly go back to Zimbabwe, live in another city and hide her sexuality.
‘I thought: “How can you hide the fact that you love a certain person”’, she said.

‘It’s ridiculous.’

Khumalo’s decision to leave Zimbabwe came after she was at a friend’s house, together with others from their local LGBTI community, when a group of police officers barged in.

‘Everyone scattered as they began beating us,’ Khumalo says.
‘I was told: “You need to be fixed. We’ll kill you. Gay people are demonic and possessed.”’

One of the men grabbed the teapot, throwing it over the young woman – but because of the anti-homosexuality laws, and the need for a police statement, the woman said she couldn’t go to hospital.
‘I was left with big blisters which have since turned into scars. I was lucky to escape with my life,’ she said.

‘After the attack I felt my dignity, self-respect and confidence drain away. I couldn’t live like that anymore.’


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