This week’s topic is that of gender and sexuality in the public arena – social, political and legal reforms. This subject covers how sexual identity is politicised and it what ways the law recognises, or fails to do so, and what social change has occurred/needs to occur to enhance the quality of life for our “queer” citizens.
The highly political world of sexuality is discussed in Senthorun Raj’s thoroughly interesting article for newmatilda.com “Are you gay enough to be a refugee?”. Fear of persecution based on sexuality is a legitimate reason for an individual to claim refugee status in Australia, however, various government departments are using conflicting reasoning to reject these claims. The example was used of one Chinese asylum seeker who feared his government as he was arrested for kissing a man in public. The Australian Federal Court rejected his claim as he had “lacked appropriate discretion with respect to Chinese cultural norms and ought to have engaged in his display of homosexuality privately.” A Mongolian woman making a claim for refugee status, on the other hand, was turned down because she appeared to “lack involvement” in the “lesbian community”. The Court doubted how genuine her relationship was because it was not made public, but, as the woman herself said, she was keeping the relationship secret as she fear persecution! As Raj mentioned in another article written for Amnesty International, “What a catch-22: either you are too gay, or you are not gay enough.”
So it seems as though, as Raj suggests, the courts perhaps focus more on twisting the words of the law to fit the outcome they desire, rather than looking at the cases morally. Examples like this make you wonder…
But don’t worry, we’re not the only ones! In the UK, a young Iranian man was rejected asylum after learning that his former boyfriend had been hanged for practicing sodomy. The courts said that even though homosexuals were executed in Iran, “there was no “systematic” repression of gay men and lesbians”. Nice one Britain. Nailing it.