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Lesbian fears deportation to Jamaica

A LESBIAN woman who says her life would be in danger if she is sent back to Jamaica says she is contemplating suicide to avoid imminent removal.

Neisha Hemmings, 30, from Oxford, said she would rather take her own life than return to a place she has no connection with and would be hostile towards her sexuality.

“I’m doing everything in my power to avoid being sent back to a Jamaica because I have nothing and no one out there,” she told The Voice.

She added: “I have been a lesbian since I was 18. I hid my sexuality for a long time but I am no longer going to cover up anymore. I understand Jamaica has a reputation of being a homophobic country and I must be true to myself”

Hemmings says she was sent to the UK by her mother, who was dying of cancer, when she was just 16. She claims her stepfather, who her mother entrusted to care for her, abused her and took her passport.

She said: “My mum knew she was going to die, which is why she sent me here to live with my step dad. She died a year after my arrival in the UK.”

The failed asylum seeker has spent the past four weeks detained at Yarl’s Wood detention centre but has already heard some of her relatives and friends in the village where she was born are saying negative things.

Others have openly warned her not to return to the district because “something terrible” could happen.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) activists have recently launched a campaign to eradicate homophobia in Jamaica and Uganda, two of the countries most internationally identified with homophobic hatred and violence.

Hemmings is just one out of the many who have fled Jamaica for fear that they could be harmed because of their sexuality.

“I haven’t been to Jamaica in 14 years and returning as a lesbian could jeopardise everything for me.

“My family in the UK are very supportive and accept me for who I am, the thought of being deported has caused me to suffer from depression. I’d rather take my own life than return,” she said.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson said:

"Ms Hemmings case has been considered by both the UK Border Agency and the courts and she has been found not to be in need of protection. Those who do not leave voluntarily may have their removal enforced.
We will not remove anyone who has any outstanding representations on their case.”

Early this year Immigration officials granted a Jamaican-born lesbian refugee right to stay after ruling she would be persecuted if she returned to Jamaica.

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