Orashia Edwards, a Jamaican bisexual man seeking asylum in the U.K. shows immigration authorities intimate photos of himself in an attempt to prove his sexual orientation.
Edwards has been in contention with Immigration officials and was nearly deported to his native country last year because officials do not acknowledge that he is bisexual, even though he is currently in a relationship with a man, because he has been married to a woman and has fathered a child.
He is currently in a detention facility and fears he will be deported to Jamaica, where same-sex relationships are illegal and LGBT people face serious violence.
Edwards told the Guardian: “If I go back I will be tortured, I will be killed for sure. Because my case has been covered in Jamaican media there will be no way for me to hide. I’ve already received death threats on social media, people say I’m making the country look bad.”
Jamaica has a reputation for intolerance of male homosexuality, and many Jamaicans see it as a moral perversion imported from abroad. A group called “Jamaica CAUSE” (Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation) a coalition of religious groups, has held huge protests against the “homosexual agenda” in Jamaica.
J-FLAG, a Jamaican organization that advocates for the human rights of LGBT people, reports that between 2008 and 2012, 231 acts of violence and discrimination against members of the LGBT community were documented.
In 2013, a petition was filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights challenging Jamaica’s articles in the Offences Against the Person Act (commonly known as the “buggery” law) on the grounds that they are unconstitutional and promote homophobia. Consensual same-sex conduct between men continues to be criminalized and punishable by up to 10 years behind bars.
While these laws are rarely enforced, the resulting climate of prejudice increases the likelihood of discrimination, physical attacks and other human rights abuses against people because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.
That same year, a teen-age boy was brutally murdered by a violent mob. Dwayne Jones went to a party wearing women’s attire, after which he was stabbed, beaten, shot, and run over by a car.
Beyond this, violence against Jamaican lesbians and the underreported crime of targeted sexual assault of lesbians is receiving growing attention.
In 2009, Angeline Jackson and a friend were ambushed at gunpoint and sexually assaulted on a wooded trail outside the Jamaican capital. Jackson said she was targeted by a small group of anti-gay rapists who posed as lesbians on an Internet chat-room and lured the two women to the remote footpath.
Last year, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden mentioned Jamaica’s struggle with “corrective rape for lesbian women” while speaking about global gay rights. With a population of less than 3 million, very few incidents of sexual attacks are reported to LGBT activists.
Edwards feels he is sure to be targeted if sent back. Last July, he was denied asylum on the basis of his sexuality; officials claimed he had been “dishonest” about his sexual orientation.
The Jamaican national says he even submitted pictures of himself having sex with a man to help his case out of desperation to convince the officials to believe him.