Gay Lawyers' Digest 5

Asylum Seeker Rejection in Austria for not being gay enough

 Austria is much more gay-friendly than the countries that the LGBT refugees seeking asylum in Austria come from but they often face challenges coming out in Austria.  Recently, a gay teenager from Afghanistan was refused asylum on the basis of his demeanour, which apparently was not gay enough. 

An official in Lower Austria decided that the young man’s behaviour, clothing and even his walk did not support the contention that he was gay.  The official’s report stated, “Neither your walk nor your behaviour nor your clothing gives the slightest indication that you could be gay.”  The report also mentioned that he frequently got into fights with his roommates which it was felt was not expected in a gay man and also he was not sociable enough to be gay.

The teenager could now face deportation to Afghanistan where the country’s law criminalises consensual same-sex sexual conduct and harassment, violence and detention of gay people by the police is commonplace.

Patrick Dörr, who runs Queer Refugees, a German state-sponsored program for LGBT refugees coming to Germany, called the decision in the Afghan teenager’s case “scandalous misconduct”.


World Meeting of Families in Dublin refuses attendance of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

The World Meeting of Families (WMF) is hosting an international event in Dublin but it seems that not all families are welcome.  The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) applied for a stall in the exhibition hall and was told, last minute, that there was not sufficient space for their stand.  Ruby Almeida, the co-chair of the GNRC felt that, whilst the Church says it wants to welcome LGBT people and organisation, in fact, the conservative forces within the Vatican will always hold sway.  Ruby further commented that she believed that there was a power struggle going on in the Vatican with some people wanting to see change, who may be currently fighting a losing battle.

GNRC were not the only ones rejected, another organisation, We Are Church, which campaigns for equality and inclusivity within the Catholic Church, has also been denied permission for a stall in the exhibition hall.

The only win for the LGBT community is that the gathering will be addressed by Father James Martin, an American Jesuit priest and vocal advocate for LGBT rights. However, the Irish Society for Christian Civilisation which is appealing for signatories to a petition urging Archbishop Martin to disinvite Fr Martin, arguing that he is “well known for his dissent from church teaching on sexual morality” and that any address will “cast a shadow” over the WMF, is not successful.  However, nearly 11,000 people have backed the petition.

For information on all discrimination issues please email   or telephone 020 7043 5923