“The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual.”
An 18 year-old fleeing possible persecution in Afghanistan because he is gay has had his application for asylum rejected by Austria after an official said he did not “walk, act or dress” like a gay man.
According to The Falter newspaper, the teenager’s assessment said: “The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual.”
The assessment also found that because the boy had fought with others in the accommodation where he was being housed that he had a “potential for aggression,” which “wouldn’t be expected from a homosexual”.
Because the boy had few friends in his temporary accommodation, the official writing his report questioned: “Aren’t homosexuals rather social?”
In his application for asylum, the boy said that he became aware of his sexuality at the age of 12, but the official who rejected his claim said that this was “rather early” and not so likely in Afghanistan “where there is no public sexual stimulation through fashion and advertisement.”
Austria’s interior ministry said it could not comment on the case, but that it was working with the UN refugee agency to offer further training on LGBT issues to “ensure equality” in the asylum assessment process.
The teenager, who came to Austria alone, is appealing the decision.
In Ireland, gay asylum seekers have reported being asked by officials trying to determine whether they are gay or not, questions like ‘What is your favourite Madonna song?” and “What is your favourite gay bar in Dublin?”
LGBT asylum seekers have also reported bullying, isolation and rejection in the Direct Provision system, which houses them while their applications are being processed.
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