Stonewall celebrates UK's managers of detention and deportation

[London NoBorders] Gay pride marches followed the Stonewall riots of 1969 and were a protest against the social invisibility of the LGBT community. In the London Pride march of 2010 most of the larger floats were paid for by businesses and governmental organisations proudly presenting their LGBT staff. The Home Office float, commandeered by Spectrum – the LGBT support group within the department – were going for a Moulin Rouge theme.

Civil servants in the Home Office, UK Border Agency, Criminal Records Bureau and Identity and Passport Service, were shaking their booty to a blasting sound system. A bit further down the march a procession of a different kind with eight people dressed in black, their mouths taped shut, carrying coffins. Their front banner read 'Stop the deportations' and the coffins were a strong reminder that LGBT's in UK detention centres awaiting their deportation run the very real risk of torture and death once returned to their so-called 'country of origin.'

On January 12 the UK LGB charity Stonewall published its Top 100 Employers 2011, showcasing Britain's best employers for gay staff. It names the Home Office as the best place to work for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: ‘I’m delighted the Home Office is being celebrated as an employer which supports the diversity of its staff. This Government will continue to do all it can to tackle discrimination and help make this country a more tolerant and fair place for everybody.’[1] It is only since July 7 of last year that the Supreme Court ruled against the deportation of those that fear persecution over sexuality in their home countries. [2] Until that time those that had sought refuge in the UK had found themselves in a Kafkaesque situation of proving that their grounded fear for imprisonment, torture, or execution was due to their gender or sexual identity. [3] Those that did not pass the Home Office's heavily-criticised fast track procedure entered the UK detention system. The coffins in that 2010 London Gay pride march also commemorated those that were eventually deported.

The signatories take it to heart that the workfloors in the UK see a greater equality and that discrimination of LGB people is tackled. With the Home Office receiving the award for best place to work for LGB people, Stonewall however picked a winner that leaves us with a bitter taste. While those up in office were able to freely express their sexuality, those that had sought the same in the UK were at the mercy of callous bureaucrats working for the very same employer. London NoBorders condemn this decision of Stonewall and would like to remind them of their key priorities and the historical background of their chosen name.


[1] See Stonewall press release, Jan 12 2011,
[3] See the report from UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group, Failing the Grade: Home Office initial decisions on lesbian and gay claims for asylum, April 2010,