Netherlands: man fleeing homophobic violence denied asylum as he is ‘not gay enough’

A man fleeing anti-gay violence has been denied asylum seeker status in the Netherlands based on an assessment by the IND (The Immigration and Naturalisation Department) which found him to be “not gay enough”: in this exact words.

28-year-old gay man Sercan fled from Turkey two years ago because his family threatened to kill him after he came out as gay and refused to be married to a woman.

After two interviews — one lasting about 5 hours, the other eight hours— Sercan was unable to convince the IND official of his sexual orientation. As Lennart Wegewijs, spokesperon for the Minsistry of Justice and Security, explains “The IND official determines whether the asylum application is justified based on the account given in these assessment interviews.”  In such cases, the burden of proof lies with the applicant.  The flaws of this process are quite clear.

Even though Sarcan has appealed the decision, he is not allowed to wait for the appeal in the Netherlands, and he must do so from outside of the country. The community centre in Deventer has started a petition to prevent him from being deported.

The case is not a one off. According to a report published as far back as 2011 by the Vrije Universiteit (VU University Amsterdam) and LBGT advocacy group COC Netherlands it was said that around 200 people every year apply for asylum based on fear of persecution for sexual orientation or gender identity. Many of these people often had to suppress their sexual orientation for many years and therefore have difficulty talking about it.

According to Sarah French Brennan, Doctoral Researcher at Teachers College, Columbia University, “It is generally understood that a Dutch person’s sexual identity may be fluid. Yet LGBT asylum applicants must often conform to strict stereotypes.”


via Are You Syrious