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Home Office are using ‘gay stereotypes’ to reject LGBT+ asylum seekers, says immigration lawyer

Jasmine Andersson May 25, 2018
Gay asylum seekers

Credit/NewStatesman

A leading immigration lawyer has said that the Home Office is using gay “stereotypes” to make sense of LGBT+ asylum applications.

While the Home Office is tasked with hard-to-reach immigration targets, LGBT+ people are being asked invasive questions about their sexuality during the process to claim asylum, lawyer Daniella Cohen writes on the Electronic Immigration Network website.

As well as this, claimants are being rejected because they haven’t reconciled “feelings about their sexuality,” Cohen said.

“This approach is unfair and unreasonable in the context of questioning, for example, a gay man from a conservative Islamic background about his sexuality,” wrote the lawyer.

“There is also an over-emphasis, in refusal letters, of the applicants’ alleged failure to deal with feelings about sexuality or feelings of attraction towards the same sex,” writes the lawyer.

“We should not allow our clients to be subjected to intrusive and humiliating questions about their sexual lives.”

In order to reach increased productivity targets, Cohen says that the Home Office are using “stereotypes” about gay people to process cases.

“In particular, in the case of men, some are not believed because they do not frequent LGBTI venues, do not have tattoos or other markers of homosexuality, nor do they dress in a manner considered to be stereotypically gay,” the post reads.

“Some are not believed because they have not provided witnesses, or shown evidence of making public displays of affection towards individuals of the same sex.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 08: A women’s rights demonstrator holds a placard relating to the Yarls’ Wood hunger strike  (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty)

“It is obvious that an individual can be considered to be authentically heterosexual or homosexual in orientation without complying with certain given stereotypes,” she added.

The Home Office’s hostile immigration policies have been epitomised by the Windrush scandal.

Thousands of people from Commonwealth nations who were encouraged to come and work in the UK have had their citizenship revoked under new immigration laws, an investigation by The Guardian revealed.

 

Home secretary Sajid Javid replaced Amber Rudd after the Windrush scandal (PinkNews)
Home secretary Sajid Javid replaced Amber Rudd after the Windrush scandal (PinkNews)

Conditions for LGBT+ asylum claimants, however, still appear to be hostile.

In a recent LGBT+ case at Yarls Wood, one transgender asylum hopeful taken from her room in Yarls Wood in the middle of the night to be deported back to Thailand.

She said that she had been trafficked into the country and faced “violence and rape” if she returned.

More: asylum, asylum application, asylum case, asylum seekers, human rights, immigration law, Law, lgbt asylum

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