Words: Steve Brown
The Bristol Bisons have refused to display the Pride colours until the Home Office either grants a Kenyan player asylum or removes the rainbow colours from their logo.
This week, Kenneth ‘Ken’ Macharia was told that his right to stay in the UK has been revoked and his family and friends say he may be detained and sent back to Kenya immediately where he will face persecution over his sexuality.
Ken had been living in the UK since 2009 and has been an active member of the LGBTQ-inclusive rugby club.
However, after the news that his right to stay in the UK was revoked – just days after Kenya ruled to continue criminalising homosexuality – the Home Office faced backlash online after it updated its logo to feature the Pride colours.
Now, the Bristol Bisons – who promise to not give up hope – have revealed they won’t be displaying the rainbow colours and called on the Home Office to remove the Pride colours.
On their website, they said: “Our club’s existence is to support LGBT+ people and their allies to be themselves and to play the sport they love.
“This is the reason Ken joined our club nearly three years ago.
“The Home Office’s decision to refuse asylum to Ken on the grounds that it is safe to be a homosexual in Kenya, despite 21 years imprisonment, reports of attacks and rapes on LGBT+ people and no legal protection against discrimination in Kenya, is completely abhorrent.
“This week the Home Office changed its logo to include the pride flag and colours in support of pride month and yet; behind closed doors, has treated our friend like this.
“For this reason the Bisons will not be displaying the pride colours until The Home Office either grants Ken asylum, or removes the pride colours from their logo.”
A petition – set up by the Bristol Bisons – has received more than 100,000 signatures and can be signed here.