Austria attracted some controversy after rejecting gay asylum seekers for fairly ridiculous reasons.
One had been rejected for not knowing what the colours of the Pride flag meant, although he was later given stay after winning an appeal, while a further one was rejected for a whole list of ridiculous reasons, including not acting gay enough.
And now, Austria has rejected another asylum seeker, claiming this one was acting too “girlish.” This new asylum seeker had fled Iraq in 2015, and since arriving in Austria had worked with the LGBTQ rights organisation RosaLila Pantherinnen.
Some of the work he did there included translating a booklet on coming out into Arabic, and attending LGBTQ events in Vienna, including a Pride event.
Although homosexuality isn’t technically illegal in Iraq, places that operate under Sharia law can punish homosexuality by death. Speaking to kurier.at the aslyum seeker said: “The problem for homosexuals is that they are killed, because this is against the religion and ideas of society.”
However, despite the work the man did, his claim for asylum was rejected. In part of their ruling, the official 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 also said the man had the facial expressions and gestures “of a differently sexually oriented person.” The Austrian government hit back at criticisms, saying its officials were working appropriately.
Not only did the ruling come days after Amnesty International described Austria’s asylum seekers process as “dubious” but it comes in the same week that far-right Austrian politician Bruno Weber called a poster showing an interracial gay couple and a child as “2 alleged faggots.” One his colleagues, Manfred Pühringer also commented on the poster, saying “It’s not nice, is it?”
After his post, politicians called for Weber to step down from his role as a city councillor in Amstetten. Weber apologised for the language, but not the sentiment, writing: “My reaction to the ÖBB advertising poster posted here on Facebook on Tuesday was inappropriate and unacceptable due to the terms used!
“As a conservative person and family man, the traditional family image is simply important to me.”