Hundreds of people took to Parliament Square today in protest of Suella Braverman questioning the legitimacy of some LGBTQIA+ people seeking asylum in the UK.
Those in attendance carried placards with messages such as, “Being a refugee is not a crime” and, “Being LGBTQ+ means death in some countries” on them.
Organised by Pride in London and African Rainbow Family, the crowd at the ‘Stand Against Suella’ demonstration heard from LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers and human rights campaigners.
These included prominent activist Peter Tatchell, who told GAY TIMES that he views Braverman’s remarks as a “political tool”.
“It’s all about her bid for the future leadership of the Tory Party after Rishi Sunak goes.
“She’s trying to exploit prejudice within the Tory Party, which is very hardline on immigration and refugees, in order to get those bigoted votes when it comes to the next Tory leadership election.
“It’s really disgraceful that she’s prepared to use a vulnerable group, like LGBT+ refugees, as a vehicle or instrument to advance her political career.”
Kevin Humphreys, an activist who was at the protest with African Rainbow Family, shared his concerns over the type of language Braverman used.
Speaking to GAY TIMES, he said: “The thing that people underestimate so [commonly] in life – words matter, rhetoric matters and when rhetoric is commonly used – especially against a minority, whose voice is quiet – then it builds and words become actions.
“We have seen within our own community that when rhetoric and hateful rhetoric is used, that becomes hateful actions and that’s why we must stop this and why we must stand up in our community now.”
Suella Braverman sparked outrage during a speech she gave earlier this week
The protest was organised in response to Braverman, the UK’s Home Secretary, sparking outrage over what she said during an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute, a centre-right think tank in Washington DC, on 26 September.
She acknowledged that “there are vast swathes of the world where it is extremely difficult to be gay, or to be a woman” before adding: “Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary.
“But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if in effect simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin is sufficient to qualify for protection.”
Her words received widespread condemnation within the LGBTQIA+ community, with charities such as Stonewall and Rainbow Migration speaking out against them, as well as prominent public figures like dinger Elton John and Labour MP Nadia Whittome.