- Political Profiles: Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
- Political Profiles: Omar al-Bashir
- Political Profiles: Bernie Sanders
- Political Profiles: Jair Bolsonaro
- Political Profiles: Dominic Raab
- Political Profiles: Jeremy Corbyn
- Political Profiles: Sajid Javid
- Political Profiles: Steve Brine, Royston Smith, Alan Whitehead and Caroline Nokes
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSMigrants) is a campaign by lesbian and gay allies of migrants in the UK to defend human rights. The namesake is a reference to the ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’ alliance, which during the 1984 UK miners’ strike opposed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s closure of the mines.
According to their website:
‘In the current political climate, migrants bear the brunt of far-right violence, face demonisation in the media and are criminalised by the state. LGSMigrants use the strength of the queer community and an understanding of our history of struggle to fight back in support of those at the sharpest end of Government oppression today.’
Solidarity is a core value that the political Left holds dear, and LGSMigrants truly embody that by defending groups that face struggles and hostility as LGBTQIA+ people previously have. In a nutshell, the group oppose deportations and defend migrants’ rights.
LGSMigrants, alongside the campaign groups ‘End Deportations’ and ‘Plane Stupid’, took action to prevent the deportation charter flight set to leave from Stansted Airport on 28th March 2017. The activists became labelled by the media as the ‘Stansted 15’ and faced terrorism charges, sparking a national debate as to whether such nonviolent action to ‘stop charter flights’ is acceptable.
This year, British Airways have celebrated their 100th Anniversary with a ‘love letter to Britain’ advertising campaign with the hashtag #BA100. LGSMigrants, however, put together 100 letters of their own in a campaign to call on BA to stop deportations, using the hashtag #DearBA. BA have said that they are legally bound to carry out the Home Office’s deportation flights. However, rival airline Virgin Atlantic ceased contracts with the Home Office in June 2018, ending involuntary deportation flights on their airline following the controversy of the Windrush Scandal. VA informed the Government that the move was ‘in the best interest of our customers and people’, amid concerns over the unethical removal of Windrush generation migrants and LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers.
LGSMigrants not only carry out impactful activism, but also redefine the narrative pushed against migrants by the increasingly antagonistic press. This is crucial in a time where hate crimes against migrant communities are escalating in post-Brexit (referendum) Britain. They challenge the ‘criminal migrant’ construct and the legitimacy of carrying out deportations for the ‘good of the country’ by a Home Office that has demonstrated blatant contempt of the law to reach self-imposed migration targets of the Hostile Environment policy. The misdirection of criminal activity pointed towards migrants and away from our own deep-rooted problems is being exposed as a measure of justifying the enforcement of harsh treatment of all migrants.
LGSMigrants are leading the charge in an uphill battle against deportations and the Hostile Environment policy. In doing so they remind us that it is the action of passionate ordinary people that can stop powerful institutions ruining lives. Those who rightfully criticise the Government’s unlawful deportations of the Windrush migrants in recent years can put action to their words by supporting the work of groups like LGSMigrants. By taking action to stand up to the literal violence and injustice deportees are subject to, they can ultimately stop, or at least question, deportations taking place.
See it. Say it. Stop it.