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Lesbian asylum seeker told to ‘prove’ she’s gay by handing over naked pictures

By Fabio Crispim

In a YouTube video for Fixers UK Skhumbuzo Khumalo opens up about her experience in Zimbabwe and how she fled her home country after a violent attack by the police.

Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and, though female homosexuality is not a crime, the LGBT community faces violence encouraged by President Mugabe.

Khumalo, after fleeing to the UK and claiming asylum in 2014, spent weeks in a detention centre and just narrowly avoided deportation back to Zimbabwe. She was granted asylum in June last year.

Now, Khumalo opens up about her experience.

“Clearly just by looking at you, they will not judge if you are gay or straight. So they left me in a position where I had to produce photos of a sexual nature, which I didn’t feel comfortable sharing. The officer began flicking through the photos while I was sat in front of him. It was extremely degrading.”

Khumalo goes on, saying that she “was asked lots of personal questions and then I was asked if I could go back home and live in another city and hide the fact that I’m gay. I thought, ‘how can you hide the fact that you love a certain person? It’s ridiculous.'”

“When I thought I might be sent back to Zimbabwe, I felt like committing suicide, because me ending my life is better than people back home ending it for me.”

She recalled the horrific attack that forced her to flee to the UK.

“I have nightmares almost every night,” she said. “It’s as if it only happened yesterday.”

Zimbabwe 2

“I was like any other child, I had a happy childhood, everything you’d want and hope your childhood to be but then it changed.”

Khumalo explains how the police forced themselves into the house and started to beat her. “I was told: ‘You need to be fixed. We’ll kill you. Gay people are demonic and possessed.'”

They then reached for a teapot and “threw the boiling water over me.”

“After the attack I felt my dignity, self-respect and confidence drain away. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I left Zimbabwe because of the torture I was facing”