Do LGBT asylum seekers need to look and act queer?

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07/26/2019

LGBTQI+ Muslims seeking asylum are more successful if they speak, dress and act in accordance with Western notions of homosexuality, according to a new study. The study, published in the journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, found that LGBTQI+ asylum applicants reported they were often expected to be “flamboyant” and “outspoken” in their asylum interview, and that overall, asylum seekers were more successful if they could prove their ‘gayness’ by being involved in gay/queer activism in their country of origin, visiting gay bars, being members of lesbian and gay groups and attending gay pride marches. For the study, Dr Mengia Tschalaer, an anthropologist at the University of Bristol interviewed 15 lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) refugees and asylum seekers from Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and Pakistan. She also talked to asylum lawyers and judges from Berlin and Cologne, as well as representatives of LGBTQI+ refugee counselling centers in Cologne, Munich, Heidelberg and Mannheim.

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