UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman
Elton John criticised Suella Braverman for downplaying the threats against LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. AFP / Daniel LEAL

Both Elton John and Sir Ian McKellen have fuelled the backlash over Home Secretary Suella Braverman's vow to crack down on LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in the UK.

In a joint statement with the singer's husband, David Furnish, the Elton John Aids Foundation declared: "We are very concerned about the UK Home Secretary's comments stating how discrimination for being gay or a woman should not be reason enough to qualify for protection under international refugee laws."

The declarative comes in response to Braverman's speech to Washington DC on Tuesday 26 September. While addressing DC, Braverman also called for the UN Refugee Convention to be changed, while explaining that any attempts to reform the case law "will see you smeared as anti-refugee".

The Home Secretary called the 1951 UN Refugee Convention "outdated" and said that the case law is now being used to protect people who are fearing slight discrimination instead of those fleeing persecution.

Braverman, who is the daughter of migrants from Kenya and Mauritius, went on to state that the law boasts an unsustainable asylum system where "simply being gay or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country is sufficient to qualify for protection".

The Elton John Aids Foundation later fired back at the Home Secretary, noting: "Nearly a third of all nations class LGBTQ+ people as criminals and homosexuality is punishable by death in 11 countries."

"Dismissing the very real danger LGBTQ+ communities face risks further legitimising hate and violence against them," the Elton John Aids Foundation declared.

The statement, posted on the social media platform Instagram, urged the government to find a separate and humane solution to the current asylum seeker crisis.

The statement concluded with: "Leaders need to provide more compassion, support and acceptance for those seeking a safer future."

The Home Secretary called the 1951 UN Refugee Convention "outdated".

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Actor Sir Ian McKellen accused the Home Secretary of using her controversial opinions to gain more traction for the Conservative Party.

In agreement with Elton John, McKellen said: "It sounds to me as if it is laced with a good dollop of prejudice and hope that she is going to get a few votes because of it."

"There are many countries like said people in China, Russia and Iraq that said, 'there are no gay people in our country'. Well, when you've got that sort of stupid attitude, then that can lead to great cruelty," the Gandalf actor added.

McKellen also recalled: "If someone is escaping from that, then they ought to be welcomed to this country where we don't have the same attitude."

Despite the Rwanda Bill being ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal while making her speech in the capital city of the US, Braverman also promised that the flights deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing would go ahead.

Last year, in 2022, Human Rights Watch reported that in Rwanda "people interviewed who identified as gay or transgender said that security officials accused them of 'not representing Rwandan values'".

The Human Rights Watch report added that the detainees were beaten in custody "because of their clothes and identity".

Labour's Yvette Cooper also criticised to the Home Secretary's controversial statement, saying that Braverman has "so totally lost grip of the asylum crisis at home, that she is choosing to target and lash out at LGBTQ+ people to distract from her failures instead".

Since the speech, senior Conservative MPs have warned that the Home Secretary may have cost the party votes at the next general election and revived the "nasty party" reputation.

One senior Tory MP told reporters: "The damage to the party is one thing, but the international trashing of Britain as a fair and humane place for those who are persecuted has taken a horrendous backward step."