A mother has said the UK government is driving her bisexual son to the brink of a mental breakdown as they prepare to send him back to Jamaica.
Vienna Brown, the mother of 33-year-old Orashia Edwards, spoke to GSN in tears as she prepares to hear the final judgment of her son’s asylum case on 15 April.
She is not optimistic. In previous judgments, courts have ruled Edwards is ‘dishonest’ about his sexuality.
But she says she knows the truth, saying her son is currently dating a British guy called Michael and that this could be the only chance of seeing her family safe and together living in the UK.
Brown said since they lost their last case, in July of last year, her son’s mental health has worsened considerably.
When he saw a GSN report of a young Jamaican man being stoned to death for being gay this week, it was the last straw.
‘He’s suicidal,’ Brown told GSN in tears. ‘That’s why the [Home Office] is keeping such a close watch requesting to see him twice a week.
‘Orashia’s so confused. He can’t keep a conversation straight. He’s terrified, he saw the killing in Montego Bay and he’s terrified. I don’t want to even consider that my son would do that.
‘I hate to see my son suffer, I can’t help him. I don’t know what to do.’
Brown says at a recent interview, Edwards was asked for the date of birth of a man he had once dated years ago in Antigua and got it wrong. Even though his Antiguan ex-boyfriend had confirmed by letter that Edwards was telling the truth, it was not enough for the officials.
She added: ‘My son doesn’t know how to lie. Yes, his life has not been straightforward but we’re not lying to them.
‘They are risking his life by pushing him onto a plane.’
The Jamaican press have run articles on Edwards, identifying him as bisexual and accompanied those articles with pictures.
According to the family, readers have written in to the paper saying he should be attacked – ‘punished’ – as soon as he arrives back in the country.
Edwards has been living in Leeds for the past 14 years.
After he lost his legal battle in July, he said he would ‘prefer to be a dead man than get on a flight to die. I have nowhere to go’.
Leeds for Change, an organization campaigning on behalf of LGBTI asylum seekers, has successfully got flights to Jamaica cancelled.
The group alleges the Home Office decision behind who is granted asylum have been prejudiced.
Some activists also say the Home Office finds it difficult to grant bisexual people asylum, saying there is an attitude that they could ‘pass’ in their home country.
The Home Office has denied claims its asylum decisions are prejudiced.