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Say it ain’t so!? Asylum system humiliates gay refugees


Imagine a woman who has fled to Britain after suffering rape, torture, imprisonment and family abuse because she is in a same-sex relationship.
Maybe she comes from Jamaica, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, all of which discriminate and legislate against homosexuality.
What sort of questions do you think immigration officials and judges will ask her when she requests asylum?
How about: “Have you read Oscar Wilde?”
The assumption that if you are gay you must have read the homosexual Anglo-Irish playwright – regardless of your culture, language and age – is breathtakingly inappropriate.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Lesbian asylum seekers interviewed in recent research in Britain also said they were asked to justify why they chose to be gay when they knew it was illegal in their home country. They were asked about sexual positions, how many Gay Pride marches they attended and which gay clubs they went to.
One woman told how the immigration judge commented that she did not look like a lesbian while another was told she could not be a lesbian because she had two children.
Experts in Britain and Canada say decisions regarding someone’s claim to be lesbian or gay often appear to be based on whether they conform to Western stereotypes.
The examples above are outlined in the latest issue of Forced Migration Review (FMR), published this week, which focuses on the problems faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees and asylum seekers.
Some 76 countries criminalise homosexual acts or what is termed gender-variant behaviour. In at least five of these countries the penalty can be death.>>>more<<<


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