The two asylum seekers came from countries where homosexuality can be punished by death.
At least two gay asylum seekers have been rejected by Austria in the past few months for some of the most ridiculous reasons. One of the men who was rejected was Navid, who came from Iran.
Navid was rejected asylum in the country by the Federal Office for Aliens and Asylum (BFA) because he didn’t know what all of the colours on the Pride flag symbolised.
Navid was supported in his application for asylum by Queer Base, an LGBTQ organisation that helps refugees fleeing from countries because of their sexuality. Queer Base argued that the BFA hadn’t undertook a proper investigation, especially since they never interviewed Navid’s partner to confirm his sexuality.
After Navid’s rejection in June, many Austrians rallied around him, and earlier this week the Federal Administrative Court overruled the BFA’s ruling, and gave Navid asylum in the country.
And in answer to the BFA’s questions, in the Pride flag red means love, orange means healing, yellow means sunlight, green means nature, blue means harmony or peace and violet means spirit.
The other asylum seeker to be rejected was an 18-year old from Afghanistan. His rejection has a whole grab bag of ridiculous reasons including not dressing or walking gay, spending time alone, kissing straight men, and having the potential for aggression.
A report from the Falter newspaper, said that in his rejection of the asylum seeker, an official for the Lower Court in Austria wrote: “The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual.”
Questioning why the asylum seeker had few friends and enjoyed spending time on his own, the report said: “Aren’t homosexuals rather social?”
And noting that the asylum seeker had the potential for aggression, the official noted that this “wouldn’t be expected from a homosexual,” the official also cast doubt on the 18-year-old having kissed straight men, as he would have been beaten up if he had done so.
The official also doubted the claims that the 18-year-old knew about his sexuality from the age of 12, saying that it was “rather early” and not likely in a society like Afghanistan.
It’s been reported that the court’s decision is being appealed.
Sadly, cases like this aren’t isolated. Back in May, an immigration lawyer claimed that Home Office officials in the UK were rejecting gay asylum seekers based off of stereotypes.
Writing for Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association Monthly and republishing on her blog, lawyer Daniella Cohen said: “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.”