Austria has rejected a gay asylum seeker for being too ‘girlish’
Austria has turned away another gay asylum seeker – this time because he was too “girlish.”
Last week, a gay Afghan teenager was reportedly rejected for asylum after Austrian officials said he did not “walk, act or dress” like a gay person.
In this latest case, a 27-year-old from Iraq was refused a home in Austria despite telling immigration officials about his work with local LGBT+ group RosaLila Pantherinnen since he fled his home country in 2015.
Homosexuality is technically legal in Iraq, but openly queer people face attacks in public and executions in Sharia courts.
A report released in June found that 96 percent of LGBT+ Iraqis have faced physical or verbal violence because of their sexuality or gender identity.
Since arriving in the southern city of Graz, the asylum seeker said he has translated a booklet on coming out into Arabic and attended LGBT+ events in the capital of Vienna, such as the Tuntenball and Pride parade.
He explained that he had accepted he was gay when he was 16, but had to hide his sexuality from his family and the public in general.
He spoke about Iraq, telling authorities: “The problem for homosexuals is that they are killed, because this is against the religion and ideas of society,” according to Austrian news outlet kurier.at.
Despite this testimony, the immigration official did not believe him.
In their ruling, they wrote: “Particularly striking… was the fact that until the concrete questions about your homosexuality, you did not increase your stereotypical, at least exaggerated, girlish behaviour.”
The official accused him of using facial expressions and gestures “of a differently sexually oriented person,” but said this was him “acting and putting it on.”
They added: “You did not act authentically,” stating that it was “unbelievable” and “not credible that you are sexually different (gay) oriented.”
The government department responsible for accepting or rejecting asylum seeker pushed back against criticism of the decision today (August 24), denying the “serious allegations” of “degrading behaviour” by the officials.
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Earlier this month, Austrian lawmakers called for far-right politician Bruno Weber to resign after the Freedom Party councillor called a gay couple “faggots” and “a negro.”
Weber is a representative of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), the governing coalition’s junior partner whose anti-LGBT candidate Norbert Hofer lost the 2016 presidential election in the final round of voting.
His fellow party member Manfred Pühringer, who sits on the Linz council, posted an advert – which states that a new family railcard is “for a mother, father, partner or friends travelling with children” – on Facebook.
He captioned the post: “It’s not nice, is it?” below which Weber wrote: “That’s not normal! 2 alleged fagots [and a] baby and of them one is a negro. I’m afraid…”
The councillor said that the ad meant he would “definitely not renew” his railcard, adding that he would use a privately run competitor instead.