A gay 18-year-old from Afghanistan who fled to Austria had his application for asylum denied because authorities’ didn’t think he fit their stereotypes of gay men.
One official wrote, “The way you walk, act and dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual.”
Another pointed to the fact that the teenager got into a few fights with other refugees. The official didn’t seem to have as much a problem with the fights as they did with the idea that gay boys can get into fights, saying that his “potential for aggression… wouldn’t be expected from a homosexual.”
The teen is also an introvert, and the officials apparently believe all gay men are extroverts. “Aren’t homosexuals rather social?” the report said.
Last, the officials also took issue with the teen saying that he knew that he was gay since he was 12-years-old. They said that this was “rather early” for someone to identify as gay in Afghanistan, “where there is no public sexual stimulation through fashion and advertisement.”
The Afghan teen went to Austria two years ago and was placed in the SOS Children Village. He originally applied for asylum because he’s part of the Hazara ethnic minority, and said that he did so because he was afraid to come out initially.
The teenager said that he kissed some other men at the refugee center, but his case worker didn’t believe that because they believed that the teen would have been beaten for that.
Austria’s Interior Ministry has not commented on the case. Generally, they said that there are no concrete standards of proof and that the impression an asylum seeker makes on authorities can be important.
“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,” the ministry said in a statement.