An 18-year-old gay man from Afghanistan found his way to Austria a couple of years ago, hoping to seek asylum in the country. If they knew he was gay back home, he faces social ostracization at best and possible death.
But Austria says it can’t take him in… because he’s not gay enough.
“The way you walk, act and dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual,” the official reportedly wrote. For this reason, the Austrian official found no grounds for the young man to fear for his safety in Afghanistan. The Afghan plans to appeal the decision, [news magazine] Falter said.
The migration official took issue with the Afghan’s behavior problems, the fact that he had been involved in fights at the refugee center and concluded that he had “potential for aggression” that “wouldn’t be expected from a homosexual.”
In another objection, the official noted that the young man did not have many friends and preferred to spend time in smaller groups or alone. “Aren’t homosexuals rather social?” the report read.
The young man also said he knew he was gay when he was 12, which the official claimed was “rather early.” (It’s not.)
The Austrian government said the official’s opinions played a role in the decision not to grant asylum to the man, but that it didn’t mesh with the “reality” of gay experiences. At least he can appeal the decision. If it doesn’t work, though, he may be sent back to a country that wants him dead. After all, he’s no longer just a quiet gay person. By asking for asylum on those grounds, he’s effectively outed himself, putting him in more danger if things don’t work out.
For what it’s worth, pretending to be gay just to seek asylum is incredibly rare, according to experts. Why add even more stigma to your name when you have enough to deal with?
(Thanks to Melissa for the link)