Africa / Europe

Advocates for LGBTI Africans on UK shortlist for award

Out and Proud Diamond Group marches during Pride parade. (Photo courtesy of OPDG)

Out and Proud Diamond Group marches during Pride parade. (Photo courtesy of OPDG)

The United Kingdom-based African LGBTI advocacy organization Out and Proud Diamond Group has been shortlisted for honors at the National Diversity Awards 2015.

Out and Proud Diamond Group is proud of its status as a shortlisted nominee. (Photo courtesy of OPDG)

Out and Proud Diamond Group is proud of its status as a shortlisted nominee. (Photo courtesy of OPDG)

The awards, including the one for community organizations working on LGBTI issues, will be presented Sept. 18 at the Anglican cathedral in Liverpool.

Out and Proud Diamond Group (OPDG)  was formed in 2011 by LGBTI activists from Africa based in the United Kingdom. The founders themselves fled their home countries due to persecution and discrimination because of their sexual orientation. OPDG supports asylum seekers and refugees,  while challenging homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and discrimination and injustices toward LGBTI people because of from their sexuality or gender identity.

The organization stated:

“We have helped many LGBT asylum seekers in the United Kingdom through finding resources and direct assistance, legal representation, support at immigration tribunals, organising social events, doctor and counselling referrals, host accommodation. The organisation has campaigned against abuses towards detained LGBTI asylum seekers and other asylum seekers in the UK immigration detention centres.

Out and Proud Diamond Group honors African LGBTI heroes David Kato and John (Long Jones) Wambere during London Pride. (Photo courtesy of Out and Proud Diamond Group)

Out and Proud Diamond Group honors African LGBTI heroes David Kato and John (Long Jones) Wambere during London Pride 2015. (Photo courtesy of Out and Proud Diamond Group)

“We have visited many detained and incarcerated LGBTI asylum seekers, all across the United Kingdom. Through our work with legal and other partners we have succeeded in halting of several deportations. Thanks to our joint efforts, many of have won their asylum in the United Kingdom, giving them the right to live without the fear of persecution. Our work also involve helping our members to become  fully integrated within the British community

“OPDG is not only active on asylum issues but we have been involved as well in  many peaceful demonstrations against various anti-gay regimes and figures including Russia, Lithuania, Jamaica, Gambia, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigeria, Dolce and Gabbana and the Commonwealth Countries. We were also actively engaged in campaigning for equal marriage and equal civil partnerships in the UK.

“OPDG is also helping LGBTI people to reconcile their sexuality and gender with their religion. As such we have teamed up with the Metropolitan Community Church in North London, where we provide a safe space.

“Being a community organisation, we are the first point of contact for many African LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in the United Kingdom.”

Supporters of Out and Proud Diamond Group welcomed the news. Aidah Asaba, a lesbian from Uganda and a member of Out and Proud Diamond Group, said:

“I am so delighted and motivated with this good news, personally I have benefited from the services of this organisation. They have helped me to get a lawyer, access counselling services, accommodation, improve my self-esteem. For me Out and Proud Diamond Group deserves to win this award.”

Veteran LGBTI rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the Peter Tatchell Foundation said:

Peter Tatchell protests against Nigerian homophobia.

Peter Tatchell protests against Nigerian homophobia.

“I am really [pleased] to hear that Out and Proud Diamond Group has been shortlisted. They do ​awesome work, not only for African LGBTI​ people and issues, but in support of the LGBTI struggle in the UK and worldwide. Out and Proud also does amazingly successful work helping win asylum for LGBTI refugees. It is one of the most active campaign groups in the UK. I hope they win this award.”

Abbey Kiwanuka, co- founder and executive director, said:

“We are delighted to be shortlisted in the National Diversity Awards 2015. This means a lot to  our organisation and our struggle for justice and equality for LGBTI people in countries where we are coming from. This nomination means a lot to all of us and, above all, we would like to dedicate this recognition to all those unsung LGBTI rights activists who are struggling to bring equality and justice.  We would like to thank all our partners in the struggle and also send out a message of hope to all those LGBTI people still facing discrimination, persecution, injustices among others that change is coming.

“Winning this award will help shed more light on the struggle for justice for all LGBTI people everywhere.”

Protesters in London urge Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to roll back the Anti-Homosexuality Act. (Photo via Facebook courtesy of Chukwunwikezarramu Okumephuna.)

Protesters in London in May 2014 urge Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to roll back the Anti-Homosexuality Act. A few months later, Uganda’s Constitutional Court did exactly that. (Photo via Facebook courtesy of Chukwunwikezarramu Okumephuna.)

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