June 19, 2015, By Oblogdee.
The African Lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and intersex organization Out and Proud Diamond Group (OPDG) , based in the United Kingom, has been nominated in UK National Diversity Awards 2015 under the category of Community organizations.
These awards celebrate the excellent achievements of grass- root communities that tackle the issues in today’s society, recognizing them for their dedication and hard work. Out and Proud Diamond Group has been nominated in the category of Community organizations dealing with LGBTI issues.
I have voted for and ask my readers to consider voting for Out and Proud diamond group by following this link https://nominate.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/ click on the Community organization icon.
OPDG was formed in 2011 by prominent LGBTI activists from Africa based in the United Kingdom, the founders themselves fled their home countries due to the persecution and discrimination because of their sexuality. The organisation, which supports asylum seekers and refugees, challenges homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and any discrimination or injustices towards LGBTI people resulting from their sexuality or gender.
The organization has participated in many peaceful demonstrations against various Anti-gay governments and individuals including, Russia, Lithuania, Jamaica, Gambia, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigeria, Dolce and Gabbana and the Commonwealth Countries, among others. The organisation has also campaigned against abuses, detained LGBTI asylum seekers and other asylum seekers in the UK immigration detention centres.
The organisation has helped many LGBT asylum seekers in the United Kingdom through finding resources and direct assistance. to include legal representation, support at immigration tribunals, organising social events, doctor and counselling referrals, host accommodation, and helping people to reconcile their sexuality and gender with their religion, while creating a safer place for them to speak and interact with other members. Being a community organisation, it is the first point of contact for many LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees in the United Kingdom
The organisation’s members and leadership have visited many detained and incarcerated LGBTI asylum seekers, all across the United Kingdom. Through the work their have impacted the halting of several deportations. This has been done through working with legal and other partners. Thanks to the direction, outreach, management and referrals of OPDG, many of these survivors have won their asylum in the United Kingdom.
They also participate in the crucial work involved to direct and refer LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees to fully integrate in the British community, through helping them to get jobs and education.
The organisation has led and participated in many petitions both online and paper form in order to bring justice and equality for LGBTI people, which has been very effective in bringing awareness and gathering support against these anti-gay Countries. LGBTI people in these Countries have expressed gratitude for the support that they get through the works of this organisation.
It is well documented that homophobia in Africa and other Countries is deeply rooted and spread by extreme religious leaders, this organisation has been instrumental in challenging such religious leaders when they come to preach in the United Kingdom.
The organisation has also:
- written many articles to challenge homophobia and also bust a lot of myth surrounding homosexuality in African Countries, many of these articles can easily be accessed online.
- has been instrumental in lobbying various western governments to do something about the on- going persecution of LGBTI people in those 78 anti-gay Countries.
- has embarked on a campaign of going all over the United Kingdom and on all social medias to raise awareness of the on-going persecution of LGBTI people in the Commonwealth Countries. This will help to gather support and solidarity against homophobia.
Melanie Nathan, Executive Director of The African Human Rights Coalition based in USA and South Africa:
“I have worked personally with OPDG for some years, providing assistance to asylum seekers , and have been impressed with the passion and unyielding support they provide to most marginalized in the LGBTI community. I may never have been aware of the cases I have worked on, but for their contact and perseverance. I can personally attest to the great lengths that they go to when LGBT asylum seekers are rejected, and often about to be deported. In these cases the asylum seekers from Africa have nowhere else to turn. OPDG helps find attorneys, resources, provides advocacy, mentoring and hand holding – not as if it is a job – but with a love and care that is as if they are family. Please vote for them now. I cannot imagine a more deserving group of selfless advocates. ” https://nominate.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/ click on the Community organization icon.
Peter Tatchell of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, notes:
‘I am really honoured to support the nomination of the Out and Proud Diamond Group and urge you to vote for them. 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. Please give them their support.”
Abbey Kiwanuka co- founder:
“We would like to thank all those who have nominated and those who are still nominating us above all we thank the organisers of these awards. This nomination means a lot to our organisation and the struggle for justice and equality for LGBTI people in Countries where we are coming from. Above all, it is a motivation and creates more hope in our members especially those who have faced persecution and discrimination because of their sexuality and gender. We hope and pray that we win this Award.”
Juliet N, a refugee from Uganda:
“I wish to nominate OPDG for saving me from impending suicide. I am a victim of multiple traumatic incidences that were later diagnosed as complex PTSD all resulting from homophobic experiences. I was alone in a foreign land with no family to turn to. As a bisexual asylum seeker and now a refugee, l felt more vulnerable and hopeless. OPDG leaders and members, on learning about my situation, supported me, through getting me a Solicitor to process my asylum application in the UK, getting a therapist, making regular phone calls to check on me, offering me a safer place to regain my self esteem, visiting me regularly whilst in Yarlswood immigration removal centre, supported me all through my asylum process and is now supporting me to fully intergrate in the community. Above all, they have helped me to gain skills of campaigning for LGBTI rights.”
Judith Twiith an asylum seeker who recently won her case:
“I nominate Out and Proud Diamond Group for the outstanding work they are doing for vulnerable people, mostly African LGBTI people who have fled their countries to escape persecution and in seeking for asylum, many are detained and put on fast track which is more like the persecution they went through back in their countries. Giving an example of myself, Out and Proud Diamond Group has fought for me, they helped me stop the deportation which was unfairly determined by home office, they have continued to help me through my whole asylum process which has not been easy and without them God knows what I would be facing now in my life. It’s not only me they have done this for, but they have helped so many LGBTI vulnerable people to find them where to sleep for those who have no homes, find them GPs for those who need medical attention, find them lawyers for those who are asylum seekers, and have helped many people to be confident about their sexuality to come out and be who they are with no fear and shame and stop living a life of lie. Yet it’s a group which is not funded for the work they do. For these reasons and more unmentioned ones, I would like to request you to nominate Out and Proud Diamond Group. “
https://nominate.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/ click on the Community organization icon.
Nominate at LGBT – Immigration Group