Biscuit shares panel with asylum seeker Aderonke Apata

B_gFI4IU8AIb5O5.jpg_largeLast weekend, Biscuit’s editor-in-chief Lottie was privileged enough to join a panel of inspiring lesbian and bisexual woman at the Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s Sugar and Spice event. One of these was Nigerian Aderonke Apata, who is fighting to stay in the country in light of a Home Office ruling that she cannot be a lesbian because she has children and has been in heterosexual relationships.

Apata appeared in the High Court last week to challenge the Home Office’s decision to refuse her asylum. During the hearing, Home Secretary barrister Andrew Bird insisted that she was simply someone who had “indulged in same-sex activity”. “You can’t be a heterosexual one day and a lesbian the next day,” he asserted.”Just as you can’t change your race.” Apata was told that the results of her appeal would arrive at the end of the month. Outside the court, Apata fell into the arms of her wife-to-be, Happiness Agboro.

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Biscuit’s Lottie Dingle joins Aderonke Apata on a Lesbian and Gay Foundation panel

Apata’s story is a harrowing one. When Apata’s family found out she had a female partner, they dragged her to a Sharia court to be stoned for adultery. A “legal technicality” gave her the time she needed to flee to England. After she left, her female partner of 20 years was killed by vigilantes.

As you can imagine, sitting just feet away from this remarkable woman as she described her horrific experiences in Nigeria, and later her ordeal in Yarl’s Wood – where, she says, they referred to her as an “animal” – was an emotive one.

Although Apata identifies as lesbian, the ruling is of course a frightening reminder to bisexual asylum seekers that they are in danger of being considered straight. The high profile case of Orashia Edwards, a bisexual asylum seeker from Leeds who is facing deportation to Jamaica, springs to mind. Edwards will next appear in court on 15th April and Biscuit will keep you updated with reports on his case.

Please do take a moment to sign the petition to keep Aderonke Apata in the UK where she is safe.

 

 

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Charlotte Dingle

Charlotte 'Lottie' Dingle is Biscuit's founding editor. When she's not running freelancing for a diverse bunch of clients ranging from Cosmo to Occupy, she enjoys teaching life drawing, discussing life/the universe/everything with her beloved (but smelly) 22-year-old cat, writing flash fiction for her MA course, getting pretentious tattoos, listening to folk music, creating surrealist art, trying to change the world and drinking red wine. Oh, and My Little Pony. Don't forget My Little Pony. Her favourite biscuits are cream crackers (do they count as biscuits?).

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