Refugee repeatedly denied asylum because UK’s Home Office ‘didn’t believe he was gay’

Priti Patel

A refugee has said he was repeatedly denied asylum in the UK because the government “didn’t believe he was gay”.

Zac Daily, 32, spent three and a half years unsuccessfully petitioning the UK government to grant him asylum – but he was repeatedly knocked back, he told the Liverpool Echo.

Daily first came to realise that he was gay at the age of 12, and three years later, he and his mother fled Abu Dhabi for the UK to get away from his abusive father.

Sadly, Daily’s relationship with his mother crumbled when he was still a teenager after she found a letter he had written to his doctor asking to be put through conversion therapy.

Daily was assaulted by his mother and told he had “one year to become straight”, which prompted him to flee his family home.

He subsequently became homeless, and it wasn’t until 2009 that a friend told Daily he should consider formally applying for asylum in the UK.

Despite his best efforts, Daily was rejected five times by the Home Office over a three and a half year period when he applied for asylum on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The gay man explained that it was “very hard” to convince the government that he was gay because he was still in the closet at the time.

Gay refugee told to ‘go home and live a gay life in secret’

The Home Office, Daily said, wanted him to “prove” that he was gay – a task that was nigh on impossible when he wasn’t out to anyone.

“They said I should go back home and live a gay life in secret, and I’ll be fine,” Daily said.

It wasn’t until Daily started going to counselling in Liverpool that he learned to embrace his identity, and he later sought support from Asylum Link Merseyside.

That resulted in Daily taking part in his first ever Pride March in 2012 – which finally paved the way for the Home Office to grant his asylum application.

Daily is far from the first refugee to face difficulty in “proving” his identity to authorities – countless LGBT+ asylum seekers have opened up about their experiences of being disbelieved.

The issue is pervasive across many European countries, with governments often arguing LGBT+ refugees must be able to prove that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans in order to be granted asylum.

In July, a gay man wept as he was sentenced to 12 months in prison for “illegally” trying to stay in the UK. Saiful Alom said he was “desperate” to stay in the country as he could face life imprisonment if he was sent back to Bangladesh.