to think asylum seekers should not have to film themselves having sex to prove they are gay?

(42 Posts)
kim147 Sun 03-Feb-13 18:40:47

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/03/gay-asylum-seekers-pressure-prove-sexuality

Changes by the Border Agency have meant that a lot of claimants are refused asylum because they cannot prove their sexuality.

"A Ugandan woman, who was eventually given temporary leave to remain in the UK but wished to remain anonymous, told the Guardian: "The UKBA officials wanted me to prove that I was lesbian but they wouldn't tell me how I could."

Some have even filmed themselves - even though this is not evidence.

I can see people trying to trick the system but in many countries being LGBT is illegal and people can suffer real persecution and even death.

JoanByers Sun 03-Feb-13 18:56:37

It doesn't say that they have to film themselves having sex.

AmandaPayne Sun 03-Feb-13 18:58:28

It doesn't say film yourself though does it? Surely you could provide details of current or past relationships, give a narrative of your experience of realising your sexuality?

Booyhoo Sun 03-Feb-13 19:00:45

are straight people having to prove they are straight in the same way gay asylum seekers are being asked to prove they're gay?

TheFallenNinja Sun 03-Feb-13 19:02:31

It doesn't say that and I want a robust, no nonsense, not easily hoodwinked asylum system.

kinkyfuckery Sun 03-Feb-13 19:03:44

Why does it matter what their sexuality is? confused

kim147 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:04:15

"In a lecture to be delivered this week at the Law Society, S Chelvan, a barrister who specialises in asylum cases and works with the UK Border Agency (UKBA), will detail the extraordinary methods to which individuals are resorting – including filming themselves having sex – to justify requests for refuge."

How do you prove your sexuality?

kim147 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:05:17

kinkyfuckery Because they want asylum to escape persecution in their country.

LGBT people are treated very badly in many countries. They are executed in Iran.

Loislane78 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:06:12

Presumably because being gay is a death warrant in some countries and that is the reason for some in seeking asylum - hence being asked.

JoanByers Sun 03-Feb-13 19:06:58

The problem is if you live in Uganda or whatever and want to come to the UK (which many people would), then being able to say 'I'm gay, give me asylum', would result in many people claiming this, even if it were not true.

BarbarianMum Sun 03-Feb-13 19:09:00

<<are straight people having to prove they are straight in the same way gay asylum seekers are being asked to prove they're gay? >>

Well no, because being straight is not generally considered a reason to claim asylum.

I don't suppose you need to prove you are gay unless its central to your asylum claim.

TBH its pretty difficult to prove many of the things people claim asylum for - unless you are famous and oppressed, or your torturers leave helpful, visible scarring sad. That's one of the reasons that is not straightforward to have a 'robust, no-nonsense system' that is also fair.

OxfordBags Sun 03-Feb-13 19:10:32

Kinkyfuckery - because some people have to claim asylum because the persecution/death they face in their own country is because they are LGBT.

One of the idiotic rulings they have been using to 'prove' that lesbian asylum seekers are not lesbians, is that they do not possess or use lesbian-pleasing porn - totally overlooking the fact that women don't use as much porn as men, they have come from places where porn is not easily available, and pretty impossible for a woman to get hold of, and that porn is simply not part of the lesbian culture (being underground as it is) in their culture, and above all, that porn usage is not normative or indicative of sexuality in any case.

kim147 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:12:51

76 countries where it is illegal to be gay.

76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/

OxfordBags Sun 03-Feb-13 19:12:54

JoanByers, being homosexual in places like Uganda is such a stigma and such a scary thing to say, even as a joke, that it is incredibly unlikely that hetero Ugandans would claim asylum by pretending to be gay. Not only would they barely dare say it to officials, as to do so in their own country would be signing their death warrant, they would be terrified that the Ugandan community in the UK would find out that this was how they claimed asylum.

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 19:18:36

I helped to fight an asylum case in my town where the asylum seeker did have visible scarring - bullet wounds - and even then the UKBA was planning to send the poor sod back.

He was 16.

TheFallenNinja Sun 03-Feb-13 19:37:22

Oxfordbags makes an excellent point. At what point does in immigrant community apply their values to other immigrants of the same source by persecution of LGBT or whatever else is taboo? Even though we have our own laws to protect, they only actually work after the event.

I guess at some point it must happen?

StuntGirl Sun 03-Feb-13 19:38:09

Aw linerunner that's awful sad Did he get to stay?

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 19:53:18

As far as we know he is still safely here, StuntGirl. A wonderful medical professional took up his case.

One thing that I find chilling is the fear that asylum seekers have that anything they to the UKBA, to local people, and to the media will be held against them if they are returned.

For an asylum seeker to complain about their original persecution can be a death sentence if they are forcibly returned.

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 19:54:00

sorry that should read 'anything they say to the UKBA...'

Booyhoo Sun 03-Feb-13 19:56:42

blush

<penny drops>

thank you for very gently pointing out the obvious.

<makes note to engage brain before posting in future>

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 20:18:38

Booey it was a very good point, though, worth talking about.

OP, I think there are lots of asylum seekers who feel that the odds are so stacked against them that they have to find all sorts of ways to 'prove' their cases to the UKBA. It's the UKBA who say, 'Prove it.'

catgirl1976 Sun 03-Feb-13 20:22:24

Oh Linerunner sad

That's horrific

BridgetBidet Sun 03-Feb-13 20:27:28

I think that the fact that there genuinely are gay asylum seeker who desperately need asylum is exactly the reason why those who are exploiting this system should be identified and weeded out.

Complaining that investigating an asylum claim based on the claimant's sexuality 'over emphasises' their sexuality is nonsense.

They say photos and videos are not evidence which is good as these could easily be faked for the purpose as photos of sexuality were faked for divorce cases back in the day when they were needed.

I think the fact is that UKBA will be aware of how the persecution of LGBT people occurs in these countries and will be able to tell a factual account from a made up account largely because of that knowledge. However they're not going to broadcast exactly what it is they're looking for because then false applicants will just give them exactly that when they know what it is.

I'm fairly confident though that if a genuine claimant can give a valid account of the persecution they have face, relationships they've had etc they'll be protected.

Booyhoo Sun 03-Feb-13 20:29:02

what would happen in the case of someone seeking asylum because they had been accused of being LGBT but actually weren't? i'm thinking that however that person is expected to prove they are in danger should be enough for a gay person to prove also.

does that make sense?

OxfordBags Sun 03-Feb-13 20:32:43

Bridget, LGBT asylum seekers usually have some difficulty proving they are such, precisely because they have had to keep their emotions and relationships incredibly secret. Some seeking asylum because they are LGBT and face horrors for it in their own country are actually virgins; they just know that they are not safe in their own country to be themselves and do not wish to live a lie.

OxfordBags Sun 03-Feb-13 20:34:25

Booyhoo, that is a very interesting point. I imagine it must happen, but have not read any reports about such cases. I imagine, sadly, that the attitude would be along the lines of "Well, if you're NOT gay, what have you got to worry about?!" and get them sent back sad

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 20:35:03

Yes, Booy, that makes sense.

Lots of people flee from countries like Iran because they have been warned to, or told they'll be next, often after a relative has been murdered.

Intimidation can be a powerful thing.

nkf Sun 03-Feb-13 20:37:12

Dramatic thread title. Totally inaccurate story. They aren't being "made" to do any such thing. Very irritating.

nkf Sun 03-Feb-13 20:40:31

Sorry. They don't "have to." Different wording. Just as irritating though.

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 20:42:24

Proof is a tough one. I've helped to support two young people's asylum cases over the past few years. In both cases they witnessed the murders of their own fathers. They gave valid accounts of the violence, their flights, and their fears. They just couldn't prove it, though. Nobody could.

The other problem with the UKBA is that take so long to make a decision, or wait until the young person has turned 18 to issue their decision to deport; by which time the young person has been through school, made friends, got lodgings, got a life started.

Thistledew Sun 03-Feb-13 20:43:11

The trouble is that UKBA operate a policy of 'reasons to doubt'. Each claim they have, they look for reasons to disbelieve and reject the claim, and if they find any, they will use them to refuse the case.

For example, one gay man from Uganda that I know of had his claim for protection refused, despite the fact that he had a newspaper report of his house being burnt down, having a witness who he had sex with, having scars from where he was attacked, a relative in the UK who knows he is gay, and a Ugandan lawyer who got him bail after he was arrested for being gay. According to UKBA, it is easy to have newspaper reports planted, his witness was not telling the truth because they have different names for the bar in which they met, the scars could have been caused by an attack for another reason, the relative is not impartial, and taking all that into consideration the Ugandan lawyer must be in on the lie also.

BridgetBidet Sun 03-Feb-13 21:01:32

I still think that even somebody in that situation would be able to give a fairly coherent account of their feelings, coming to the decision, why they came to that decision, how they knew they were gay etc, etc which someone faking it wouldn't be able to do convincingly.

In addition these cases aren't decided in a day. If they've come to this country because they don't wish to live a lie by the time their case comes to be heard they should also have built up quite a bit of evidence backing this up and will be able to give a convincing account of how they have lived in the UK which will back this up.

What this article seems to be saying is that in cases where they claim is based on LGBT issues there should be no investigation of that central issue.

If that were to happen basically it would end up hugely abused which would do a massive disservice to exactly the people that this system is designed to help. It would completely discredit the entire system if that was to happen.

Can anybody suggest exactly how these claims would be verified as true if that central issue couldn't be investigated?

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Sun 03-Feb-13 21:19:20

No one wishes more than I that they wouldn't film themselves. I'm an immigration and asylum lawyer, so have to watch the videos before I can submit them as evidence. It feels horrible to have to converse with the asylum seeker having witnessed their most intimate moments.

Why do the UKBA ask? Well, its become quite common for "economic migrants" to claim homosexuality to avoid deportation. It's not that video evidence is specifically asked for, but there's very little else that can be submitted that would prove to an adequate level that they ARE gay, so that's what they bring in.

It's the transient relationships that a lot of the LGBT asylum seekers hold down that make it hard to prove. Those in long term relationships will have proof of cohabitation, photographs of them doing "couple stuff" etc, so they wouldn't need to use sex tapes to prove anything.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Sun 03-Feb-13 21:21:04

Bridget, the system is very quick. The home office provide an initial decision within 30 days. It then takes roughly anotheronth to go to court.

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 21:25:07

My 'job' with the asylum cases was to make sure that a lawyer like hazelweather had all the right bits of documentation - I was essentially a volunteer gofer running from agency to agency, checking that they all had the paperwork completed and the files compiled and with the lawyer.

The young man must have given his account and been assessed by about twenty different professionals.

And still the UKBA said, 'Prove it.'

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 21:32:06

hazle But some cases are taking years. Some asylum applicants are stuck in limbo.

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Sun 03-Feb-13 21:35:37

Not initial claims. The Home Office allow people who have been refused to remain without enforcing removal, which is when they go on to establish a private and family life. Then they suddenly begin removal procedures when a failed asylum seeker has a partner/kids/friends in the UK.

It's a ridiculous system, and its thoroughly broken.

LineRunner Sun 03-Feb-13 21:43:36

How do you survive your job, hazel? I only vaguely helped with two cases and felt so angry and depressed for ages. The two young people faced a culture of disbelief.

You are right about 'thoroughly broken.'

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Sun 03-Feb-13 21:50:16

I get some amazing, wonderful results sometimes, which makes the job a lot more pleasant.

ripsishere Sun 03-Feb-13 21:51:39

But a better system than Malasysia who don't recognize the UN treaty.
I currently do some volunteer work with Myanmar refugees. Essentailly, all they have is an ID card confirming they are stateless people and get no help whatsoever except from UNHCR with being pointed in the right direction of voluntary groups.
'My' students are a delightful lot who live in what is laughably called low cost housing, 22-30 odd in one flat. Work on building sites for ludicrously low money with no guarantee of a job each day.
Since they have no rights to education or health care, there is a huge number of sick people. And no end in sight for them.
It is heartbreaking.

EuroShagmore Sun 03-Feb-13 22:10:30

Straight people do have to prove their relationships if their immigration status is dependant upon it. It's a standard part of the process. Not quite the same as having to prove sexuality to in the same ball park.

EuroShagmore Sun 03-Feb-13 22:10:54

but not to

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