Afghan Teen Loses Asylum Status in Austria for Not 'Acting Gay Enough': Reports
An official rejected teen’s claim based on esoteric, superficial list.
An Afghan teen seeking asylum in Vienna has been rejected for apparently not acting gay enough, according to official documents.
The 18-year-old had sought asylum in the Austrian capital as an LGBTQ refugee but had his claim denied for not presenting characteristics that mirrored homosexual stereotypes, the Washington Post reported.
“Neither your walk, nor your behavior or clothes offer any indication at all that you might be homosexual,” wrote an official who rejected the teenager’s claim, according to the report. “You appear to be capable of a level of aggression which would not be expected among homosexuals. You didn’t have lots of friends ... Aren’t homosexuals usually more sociable?”
The esoteric critique has left many scratching their heads after documents related to the the teen’s case were published by Austrian weekly Der Falter.
While he did not initially share with his translator that he was gay, the 18-year-old has appealed against the decision and remains in Austria, while being represented by Marty Huber, a human rights activist with Queer Base.
“Of course it’s difficult to tell people that you’re gay, when you live in asylum accommodation centers where you still have to hide your sexuality. He was a teenager — they need time and a trustful environment,” said Huber in an interview with the Post.
A spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry would not respond to requests for comment on the case, according to the report.
But critics say the documents excerpted reflect a troubling pattern of the government using stereotypes to justify asylum rejections in recent years.
“The country’s asylum laws had already become much stricter over the last decade. Now the right-wing government is cracking down even more and pushing back against civil society groups that back LGBT refugees,” Huber told the Washington Post.
Navid Jafartash, a 28-year-old gay Iranian man who endured a similar rejection but successfully appealed, agreed with that sentiment.
“I think they deliberately do this to prevent refugees from coming here,” Jafartash said.