Out & Proud African LGBTI (OPAL) is a grassroots group set up by, for and run by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) refugees and people seeking asylum. We started after identifying gaps and needs for inclusive support in the wake of the growing toxic anti-gay persecution they face for their perceived sexuality. We offer support and refuge to African people fleeing persecution, torture and indefinite detention because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
At the heart of our work lies the treasured tenet: Out and Proud, hence the name of our Group. We originate from various countries where we have to live very discreetly/ secretly as LGBTI persons for the whole duration of our lives to avoid constant and ever-visible persecution. OPAL is a social community where African LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees can feel safe and at peace and become empowered to overcome the legacy of oppression they endured from their own families and communities. We journey with our members through a stressful asylum procedure and support them through the integration processes in the UK.
We advocate by challenging odious anti-gay laws in African countries and name and shame racists, homophobic pastors and politicians, and a system that aims to alienate them. We believe in a world where all human rights are respected, those who are persecuted for their sexuality/ gender identity are supported, and everyone is made fully aware of their plight and every horror and disadvantage they are made to face through absolutely no fault of their own.