Aderonke Apata has to prove she is lesbian

A Nigerian woman has been forced to give UK  immigration authorities a sex tape to prove that she is lesbian.

Aderonke Apata has been in the UK for ten years after she fled her homeland because of her sexual orientation, and is now under threat of deportation.

The 47-year-old has been engaged in a struggle to convince the UK’s Home Office that she is a lesbian and that if retuned to Nigeria she faces 14 years in prison or even being stoned to death by an Islamic court.

Apata’s is one of a number of cases in which the UK immigration system refuses to accept that asylum seekers on the basis of sexual orientation are really gay or lesbian, often making impossible or humiliating demands on them to prove they are.

Speaking to The Independent with her current girlfriend in Manchester, Apata said that letters from former partners and statements from friends had failed to convince a judge of her sexual orientation.

“I was asked to bring my supporting documents for my judicial review for the court to look at. What evidence do we have to compile apart from letters from people?” she asked.

“I knew we had a home video of ourselves, so I thought why not just put it in? I cannot afford to go back to my county where I will be tortured, so if I have to prove it with a sexual video, then I have to do it.”

A petition calling on the Home Office to allow Apata to stay in the UK was submitted this week. (Watch her tell her story in a video below.)

Meanwhile, following a campaign by LGBTI activists, the imminent deportation of 30-year-old Ugandan lesbian Harriet Nakigudde from the UK was cancelled on Monday.

She was harassed and persecuted by her own family and members of the public in Uganda because of her sexuality before fleeing overseas. The UK also refuses to believe that Nakigudde is lesbian, mainly because of the fact that she’s remained single for her five years in the UK.

Last month, LGBTI activists also succeeded in getting the UK authorities to suspend the deportation of 27-year-old Aidah Asaba, a traumatised Ugandan lesbian who fled to the UK last October after being beaten by her family for being a lesbian and being forced to marry a man against her will.

Both Nakigudde and Asaba’s cases will again be reviewed by the authorities before a decision is taken on their fate.

In March last year, the UK Home Office was criticised after it deported Jackie Nanyonjo, a Ugandan lesbian who was ill, back to her homeland. She was reportedly detained on her arrival by the Ugandan authorities for hours, without medical attention. Vomiting blood and in pain she was eventually taken by family members to a clinic, where she died.

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