An Afghan teenager has had his asylum request rejected by an official who said he did not “walk, act, or dress” like a gay man and wasn’t “social” enough.
The 18-year-old fled Afghanistan fearing persecution for his sexuality, The Guardian reported.
The official also cited the man’s preference to spend time by himself or in small groups as reason not to approve the application, saying, “Aren’t homosexuals rather social?”
The report also stated the man had “potential for aggression” not “expected from a homosexual” after the man had altercations with others in the housing where he was staying.
The official insisted that the man couldn’t have kissed straight men because he would’ve been assaulted for doing so, and that the man’s statement that he realised his sexuality at 12 years old was “rather early” because “there is no public sexual stimulation through fashion and advertisement” in Afghanistan.
“No man will allow himself to be kissed by another man if he is not homosexual. It is completely unthinkable,” The Telegraph reported the rejection letter as saying.
“You are not homosexual and therefore have nothing to fear when you return to Afghanistan.”
“Asylum seekers must substantiate their reasons for fleeing. There are no concrete rules of proof, but the authorities must show if and why a claim was found to have been substantiated,” a statement from Austria’s interior ministry said.
The news comes just months after the Australian government spectacularly expressed fears that making the asylum process more accomodating of LGBTI people would encourage others to pretend to be gay.
Australian immigration officials have previously rejected asylum applications from gay men for not knowing enough about Madonna and Oscar Wilde, or for not being effeminate enough.
Others have resorted to providing images of them having sex in order to back up their applications.
There are estimated to be between 30 and 40 gay and bisexual men currently being held in detention by the Australian government on Manus Island.
The Afghan man arrived in Austria as a minor, and is now appealing the rejection of his application.
Ugandan refugee Ronnie Mugisha, who has now settled in Australia, recently opened up to the Star Observer about his experience as a gay asylum seeker.
“I had to tell them my story from my childhood. It was difficult because sharing my story to a stranger is hard.”