Austria rejects gay Iraqi asylum seeker for ‘stereotypical girlish behaviour’

Austria rejects gay Iraqi asylum seeker for ‘stereotypical girlish behaviour’
Image: A protest sign at a pro-refugee rally in 2013. Image: Haeferl / licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

Austria has rejected a gay Iraqi asylum seeker, this time citing “excessive girlish behaviour” that officials found “unbelievable”.

The 27 year old man has been active in local LGBTI groups in his area since reportedly fleeing Iraq in 2015 fearing for his life, the BBC reported.

Officials felt the gay Iraqi man exhibited overly “stereotypical” expressions and gestures which were considered to be fake, even after the case was reviewed.

Last week it was revealed that Austria had denied an Afghan teenager asylum because he did not “walk, act, or dress” gay enough, by officials’ standards.

That decision prompted Amnesty International to describe Austria’s approach to LGBTI refugees as “dubious”.

A spokesperson for Austria’s asylum office denied the accusation that the decision contained “clichéd phrasing” on the part of officials in Austria’s state of Styria.

“The inhuman language in asylum claims does not conform with the requirements of a fair, rule-of-law procedure,” an Amnesty spokesperson said.

“No man will allow himself to be kissed by another man if he is not homosexual. It is completely unthinkable,” officials said of the Afghan man in their rejection of his application.

“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 last week.

Austria is currently governed by a coalition between the far-right Freedom Party and the conservative People’s Party, having taken power last year having campaigned heavily around the debate over migration in Europe.

In Australia, meanwhile, the government has expressed concerns that relaxing the approach to asylum applications from LGBTI people would encourage others to pretend to be gay.

The official involved in rejecting the Afghan man’s application is reportedly no longer involved in processing asylum applications.

The Iraqi man will be able to appeal the decision.

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