LGBT+ rights campaigners complain of a “culture of disbelief” in the Home Office’s treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers.(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)
A UK immigration judge rejected a man seeking asylum on the grounds of his sexuality as he believed he was not “effeminate” enough.
The man appeared in the first-tier immigration tribunal seeking safety in the UK as he comes from a country where homosexuality is illegal.
But the judge reportedly rejected the man’s claim as he did not have a gay “demeanour” and did not “look around the room in an effeminate manner.”
He compared the case to that of another witness whose homosexuality he accepted because “he wore lipstick and had an effeminate way of looking around the room and speaking”.
He then appears to suggest that the man’s sexuality would not put him in danger, reportedly saying: “I understand that on the gay scene younger men are highly valued.”
The determination has not been published, but the comments were made public by the claimant’s barrister, Rehana Popal.
She said the judge was guilty of “a stereotype embedded in prejudice” and described his words as something “from the 16th century.”
“He has taken a stereotype, used it as a benchmark and compared my client to it,” she told The Guardian.
“That is totally wrong. You do not need to dress a certain way, carry yourself a certain way or look a certain way to be homosexual.
“The only thing that makes a person gay is if they are attracted to someone of the same gender.”
The man’s asylum claim is now set to be reheard.
“Culture of disbelief” in LGBT+ asylum claims
LGBT+ rights campaigners have long complained of a “culture of disbelief” in the Home Office’s treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers.
They have accused the Home Office of not giving queer people fair and equal treatment, resulting in a decrease of applications being accepted.
Between 2017 and 2015, the rate of people granted asylum on the basis of sexual orientation fell from 39 percent to 22 percent.
LGBT-related claims are also less likely to be approved than the national average.
In June the Home Office’s stalls were removed from UK Black Pride in protest at the Home Office’s “discrimination” against the communities the event represents.
Earlier this year the government announced it would be launching a review into its handling of LGBT+ asylum claims “in order to alleviate any concerns.”