Rainbows Across Borders is a local voluntary self-help group for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution of oppressive homophobic/transphobic regimes. It is open to LGBT people who are applying to the United Kingdom for asylum on the grounds that they have faced or fear persecution and harm in their countries of origin because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  A leading supporter, Ray Harvey-Amer, explains that many members have had to conceal their sexual orientation in their countries of origin. This means that when facing questions from Home Office officials such as ‘how do I know that you’re a lesbian, how do I know that you’re gay – you got married, right?’, they find it difficult to explain that they have had to conform.

Their Rainbows Across Border LGBT Asylum Seekers Choir sings for those who lived through struggle.  Members find that being part of the chorus gives them the confidence “to feel strong to present their case”.  Ray describes the chorus as “very therapeutic, because having gone through torture or homophobia and mistrust, all of a sudden you can come together as a collective and strut your stuff. It’s very amazing".

They recently had an article published in The Croydon Citizen, read it in full here.

source croydon citizen 30.08.16