I received a text last week inviting me to an open meeting for anyone wishing to help organise a helpline for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender asylum seekers, and I went along to see what it was all about.
The AIM already works together with UNITY who will be opening the helpline, and I will be volunteering to staff the weekly support line as often as needed.
No such helpline currently exists in the UK, and it is definitely needed. While much help is available for asylum seekers, many are nervous or even afraid to disclose their sexuality and it can often be a reason for fleeing their country in the first place. The line will initially be open one evening a week and will be staffed at all times by at least one male and one female - me being one of the volunteers. We will give whatever information is needed, but it is anticipated that we will for the most part be referring callers on to existing services or organisations in the area.
As a lesbian in a gay relationship I feel very lucky to be born and living in the country I am. 76 countries around the world criminalise homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalising homosexuality. If I came from such a country I would want a helpline like this and I am looking forward to being able to do some good for people in a situation I could easily be in myself.