News | United Kingdom

United Kingdom To LGBT Asylum Seekers: 'Prove You're Gay'

BordThose seeking asylum in the United Kingdom because they risk persecution elsewhere based on their sexual orientation have faced a high burden of proof, often times grappling with "extraordinary obstacles," according to the BBC: "In extreme cases claimants had handed over photographic and video evidence of 'highly personal sexual activity' in an effort to persuade officials."

The government's Home Affairs Committee was none too pleased about the UK Border Agency's failing to "treat asylum seekers with dignity and, simultaneously, failing to deal effectively and fairly with their claims":

"We were concerned to hear that the decision making process for LGBTI applicants relies so heavily on anecdotal evidence and 'proving that they are gay'."

[The Committee] added that "it is not appropriate to force people to prove their sexuality if there is a perception that they are gay. The assessment of credibility is an area of weakness within the British asylum system.

"Furthermore, the fact that credibility issues disproportionately affect the most vulnerable applicants - victims of domestic and sexual violence, victims of torture and persecution because of their sexuality - makes improvement all the more necessary."

Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who is the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, spoke out against the indignities suffered by LGBT asylum seekers:

"It is absurd for a judge or a caseworker to have to ask an individual to prove that they are lesbian or gay, to ask them what kind of films they watch, what kind of material they read.

"People should accept the statement of sexuality by those who seek asylum. This practice is regrettable and ought to be stopped immediately."

Previously, identifying as LGBT was not enough to even request asylum as the UK Border Agency had a policy that put faith in "'voluntary discretion' - which had meant it should be seen an option for claimants to conceal their sexuality in order to avoid abuse." That has changed since a 2010 court ruling that invoked, "the 'underlying rationale' of the United Nations Refugee Convention...that people should be able to 'live freely and openly' in their own country without fear of persecution" to make the case that LGBT persons from countries that have anti-gay laws on the books should be granted asylum.

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  1. "it is not appropriate to force people to prove their sexuality if there is a perception that they are gay. The assessment of credibility is an area of weakness within the British asylum system."

    That says it all.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 11, 2013 10:15:45 AM

  2. Your mom says it all.

    Posted by: FENSUX | Oct 11, 2013 10:41:18 AM

  3. The headline as usual seems pretty misleading. Isn't the whole point of the article and the various links to show that gay aslyum seekers shouldn't have to demonstrate their "gayness" and that the government will monitor the situation to ensure applicants are treated with dignity etc?

    Posted by: Brian1 | Oct 11, 2013 10:55:04 AM

  4. Nice, I assume since I was yelling at Marym that you are he?

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 11, 2013 11:30:09 AM

  5. Ha! How were people supposed to give a hint let alone PROVE that they were gay? Doing some obnoxious flaming STEREOTYPE to the hilt like walking with an over exaggerated mincing walk? (So much for the John Wayne types.) Dangling their elbows? Wearing something bright PINK? Speaking in a falsetto? Saying things like like "FABULOUS", "MY DEARR "DARLING","SWEETY" etc. constantly? If you are a man wearing HEAVY eye makeup. For women a butch haircut and a tool belt might help. All of the above. Or maybe best of all just having sex on the spot?

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 11, 2013 11:50:03 AM

  6. If they just accept that someone is gay because they say they are, then, trust me, every miscreant in the Third World will make their way to the UK and claim they are gay so that they can get asylum.

    The naivete of liberals in Western countries never ceases to amaze me. The Third World hordes will use ANY reason that they think will work when it comes to getting the right to live in a developed country. ANY reason--and they have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about lying, as long as it works.

    Of course, the whole concept of granting someone asylum because of their sexual orientation is ludicrous to begin with.....but that is another matter.

    Posted by: Rick | Oct 11, 2013 11:53:01 AM

  7. Easy:

    *Limp wrist? CHECK

    *Vocal affectation? CHECK

    *'Fashionably Dressed'? CHECK

    *Hair-dresser, waiter, 'artist', in the retail industry, Human Resources [applies to gay males only], etc.? CHECK

    *Effete? CHECK

    *Adores musicals and cheesy pop music? CHECK.

    *Hates contact sports? CHECK

    *'Well Groomed' [are those eyebrows trimmed and styled?]? CHECK.

    Extremely expensive and ridiculous underwear? CHECK.

    Congratulations, and welcome to the UK.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2013 12:27:18 PM

  8. An ex of mine was granted asylum in the US from a country that is dangerous for gay people. I'm not sure it was a requirement, but his lawyers advised him to provide some evidence of his sexuality. We did not submit anything sexual in nature, but a few photos of us on vacation and at Pride. A few of those pictures were kissing. I also was asked to submit an affidavit under sworn testimony that we were in a gay relationship. The whole immigration process is incredibly invasive. If you are an asylum seeker, under any circumstances - LGBT or otherwise - the courts want evidence of your PTSD, your sexuality, violence in your home community, whatever it is you are escaping.

    Posted by: Kevin | Oct 11, 2013 12:48:48 PM

  9. "...Third World Hordes..."

    Yep, just about sums up what a bigot you really are.

    Posted by: bear | Oct 11, 2013 12:48:58 PM

  10. Well if they have border guards like the one that checked me in to Ontario last year, I'm more than willing to give a demonstration! O course with my luck it'll be someone like Mr. Bean or worse...

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Oct 11, 2013 12:51:02 PM

  11. Well if they have border guards like the one that checked me in to Ontario last year, I'm more than willing to give a demonstration! O course with my luck it'll be someone like Mr. Bean or worse...

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Oct 11, 2013 12:51:03 PM

  12. Even if you have a friend go through the immigration process legally, it is just as invasive as asylum.

    Posted by: Sam | Oct 11, 2013 12:56:56 PM

  13. wow...and here I thought the Brits were so morally superior...or maybe they just pretend to be.

    Posted by: myackie | Oct 11, 2013 1:09:04 PM

  14. I am seeking asylum from political persecution but it is too personal to talk about it. So keep it a hushh hushh.

    Posted by: AndyTowlette | Oct 11, 2013 1:21:28 PM

  15. Canada has sent back some gay people they didn't think were gay. But they were.

    Posted by: KevinVt | Oct 11, 2013 2:14:17 PM

  16. Many western governments are based on the socialist model, which is inherently homophobic. Most government workers tend to be homophobic because of this value system.

    Posted by: Kev C | Oct 11, 2013 2:29:54 PM

  17. @KevinVT,

    Canada,UK and a few other traditional asylum nations are weary of 'refugees' and asylum seekers, and for legitimate reasons. It's a status that's easily abused and wrought with fraud.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 11, 2013 2:32:00 PM

  18. It actually depends upon the type of asylum seekers. Gays are given high scrutiny, making them less likely to gain asylum. But many groups get low scrutiny, a blank check to make themselves at home.

    Posted by: Kev C | Oct 11, 2013 3:32:24 PM

  19. The bottom line is that –sadly- there are people claiming to be homosexual to be granted asylum as it was perceived –when they didn’t required much- as the novelty and easiest way to be granted asylum. Obviously this will hurt REAL homosexual asylum seekers, as if they back up and take just the word for it, thousands will just declare it and go and live their heterosexuals lives, as if nothing happened, in the new country. Obviously the problem here is poverty and its miserable allies, people will say what they need to have a place in an economically developed country that also happens to respect human rights. My country (Argentina) respects human rights (that includes gay rights) but we don’t have asylum seekers knocking at our doors by the thousands because our economy is not that prominent. So again, it is not like many of them are out of options, they want the perks of a First World country.

    Posted by: SAYTHETRUTH | Oct 11, 2013 5:11:56 PM

  20. Crazy.

    Posted by: Martin Haro | Oct 12, 2013 7:20:27 AM

  21. Weirdly, there is a non-squicky & office friendly way of testing someone's orientation. Deployment however is another matter because if anybody figures out how it works there could be another holocaust, but with gay people, in one/some of the more loserish countries.
    If anybody's got any potentially useful ideas I'll be quite interested to hear them.

    Posted by: rdiac | Oct 12, 2013 8:15:03 AM

  22. @RICK on the plus side, it shouldn't be too hard for you to prove your a miserable little troll.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Oct 12, 2013 10:22:35 AM

  23. I doubt that many non-gay people from violently homophobic countries have made false claims (or would do so) about their orientation, considering that they could then face the ssme severe persecution back home as anyone else perceived to be gay.

    The solution should be pretty simple: Take their word for it if they say they are gay. Fine and deport them if the claims are later found to be false. Not many heterosexual Afghans or Russians are going to want to spend the rest of their lives closeted, telling their new community and every would-be potential romantic partner that they are gay.

    Posted by: GregV | Oct 12, 2013 5:43:33 PM

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