Why protesting as an immigrant feels impossible

April 2021

I attended my first (and only) protest a month after I was granted a visa to remain in the UK. Previously, I spent half a year figuring out a way to stay in the county as I’m a transgender person from Brunei Darussalam, a nation on the island of Borneo, where queerness is punishable by law and may result in a death penalty. Going back was not an option for me. But neither is remaining silent on human rights issues in my new home.

During the visa application process, I was extremely careful about anything I said or did so as to not jeopardise my precarious position. I thought that once I had a more secure immigration status, I’d be safe to express my views in the country I lived in...