UK: Asylum seeker was rejected because he didn’t have ‘gay demeanour’
A man seeking asylum in the UK from a country where homosexuality is illegal was rejected by an immigration judge because he did not have a gay “demeanour”, a barrister has said.
English barrister Rehana Popal said the judge had “taken a stereotype, used it as a benchmark and compared my client to it”, The Guardian reports.
She said the comments were like something “from the 16th century”.
In his determination, the judge referenced the asylum seeker’s “demeanour” and compared it to that of another witness who “wore lipstick and had an effeminate way of looking around the room and speaking”, who he accepted was gay.
Ms Popal said: “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.”
As the claim was heard by the first-tier immigration tribunal in London, the written determination has not been published and the judge has not been named.
Ms Popal’s client appealed the decision to a higher court, where it was overturned and sent back to the first-tier tribunal for a fresh determination.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “The UK has a proud record of providing protection for asylum seekers fleeing persecution. Each case is considered on its individual merits by experienced caseworkers, with all available evidence carefully and sensitively considered in light of published country information.”