A young Ugandan woman, who was tortured in a ritual exorcism to “cure” her lesbianism, has finally been granted asylum in the UK.
Judith Twikirize, 23, has faced an uphill battle to convince the UK Home Office that she is lesbian, despite medical evidence confirming her persecution and proof that she’s been an LGBT activist.
According to Twikirize, who fled to the UK in 2009, she was taken to a traditional healer in Uganda to be exorcised because she was a tomboyish 10-year-old.
The healer decided that the demons that ’cause lesbianism’ would leave if she was cut with razors and forced to sleep in a house of spirits. This went on weekly for a year.
As a young woman in Uganda she was also assaulted for being a lesbian and her girlfriend was reportedly murdered.
In December, Twikirize faced imminent deportation to Uganda, but won a last minute reprieve so that her asylum claim could be reviewed by the authorities.
On Monday, the Out & Proud Diamond Group announced that Twikirize, who remains physically and emotionally scarred by her ordeal, has been given refugee status.
In a statement to PinkNews, she said: “It’s been a struggle, but God has done it for me. I now can have the freedom that I have never had before since my childhood.
“I want to thank each and everyone that supported and prayed for me, the organisations that were there for me mostly Out and Proud Diamond Group, the media news that helped bring the truth to the public, plus all the people that signed my petition to stop me from being deported. God bless you all.”
The UK has been repeatedly criticised for making it extraordinarily difficult for LGBT asylum seekers to convince officials that they are gay or lesbian. Some refugees have gone so far as submitting sex tapes to the authorities.