Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Queer Sort Of Asylum Policy

The High Court today is due to rule on the case of two gay refused asylum seekers who have taken the government to court over their blatantly discriminatory asylums policy. We say blatantly discriminatory not just because a set of criteria are being applied to gay and lesbian people that is not being applied to people who, say, fear persecution in the home countries because of their political or religious convictions, but because this policy is doubly discriminatory.

Being gay or lesbian is not a 'lifestyle choice', which ones political or religious affiliations effectively are (however 'sincerely' these 'beliefs' are held). And deciding whether or not to avoid that persecution by keeping one's 'affiliations' secret is therefore a moral choice. Whereas behaving so as to conceal ones sexuality is wholly different, and current Home Office policy is tantamount to telling someone who has been persecuted because of the colour of their skin that they so go home and avoid the racial discrimination they have been suffering by using skin whitening compounds!

This is just another way of the government narrowing the criteria of who is and who isn't a 'good' migrants and further derogating itself from both the letter and the spirit of the international treaties and conventions on asylum that it is a signatory to. A case of any excuse will do as long as it achieves the desired ends, keeping as many 'bad' foreigners out as possible.


The on-line version of the Evening Standard has a comment equating the case of the Iranian asylum seeker's situation to those 'committing' adultery in his country, saying adulterers have to be discrete in order to avoid being stoned if caught and that the same is true of gay people (who wish not to be 'found out'). He then goes on to compound his stupidity by going on to say that in order for him to settle in some mythical "totally gay country", he would lie about not being straight in order to survive and nobody could prove he wasn't queer. Unless of course he was caught having sex with a woman.

This in a nutshell is the rationale of the government's discriminatory anti-queer position; if you don't step into the light no one can tell if you are different or not. You can continue to be gay, just don't risk having any sort of sexual relationship.


The High Court has found in favour of "T" and "J", with the judgement saying "To compel a homosexual person to pretend that his sexuality does not exist or suppress the behaviour by which to manifest itself is to deny him the fundamental right to be who he is."

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