Non-Binary Influencer Faces Deportation to Saudi Arabia

Main image to the post Non-Binary Influencer Faces Deportation to Saudi Arabia

Ali Saad Muthyib, a 26-year-old Saudi citizen who identifies as non-binary, has been denied asylum in the UK. Mx Muthyib, who uses both feminine and gender-neutral pronouns, fled Saudi Arabia in January 2023 after facing persecution for their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mx Muthyib described a harrowing experience of harassment and abuse by police officers in Saudi Arabia. In one incident, after being assaulted due to their sexual orientation, an officer called to their aid laughed at Mx Muthyib, took photos of their injuries, and handcuffed them to their hospital bed, exposing them to the public.

Despite this, Mx Muthyib's asylum claim was rejected by the UK's Home Office. They were not given a reason for the denial, but a migrants' rights charity later informed them that the Home Office did not believe Mx Muthyib was genuinely LGBT+.

Mx Muthyib is now appealing the decision, but they are terrified of being forced back to Saudi Arabia. The situation has left them feeling desperate, depressed, and suicidal. Mx Muthyib expressed their fear of returning to Saudi Arabia, stating that they would face imprisonment, violence, and the inability to work.

Mx Muthyib is seeking legal representation to navigate the asylum system and has set up a GoFundMe page to fund their appeal. The Home Office declined to comment on the case, citing their policy of not discussing individual cases.

Saudi Arabia does not have laws specifically criminalizing being LGBT+, but LGBT+ individuals are routinely fined and imprisoned for offenses such as "indecency" and "cybercrime." Mx Muthyib explained that living in the closet is no longer an option for them, as their face is often recognized by Arabic speakers who have seen them on social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok.

Mx Muthyib's experience in Saudi Arabia included frequent death threats, physical attacks, and detention by police officers who threatened and harassed them. They eventually escaped to the UK and applied for asylum. However, their support was abruptly terminated, and they were moved to a new facility in Luton, which houses around 450 migrants.

The new facility, which is mostly male, has left Mx Muthyib feeling vulnerable to bullying and violence. Some residents have recognized them and used homophobic slurs. Mx Muthyib expressed fear of being forced to conform to societal expectations and live as a straight person, which is exactly what they fled Saudi Arabia to escape.

A doctor's letter provided by Mx Muthyib confirms that they were hospitalized in April 2024 for suicidal ideation, which has worsened since being denied asylum and moved to the new facility. Self-harm, suicide attempts, and violence are common within the UK's asylum system, which often keeps claimants in detention for extended periods while their applications are processed.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09