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Letter from Brussels: Gay Refugees

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 06 november 2017


Dear Neighbors to the North, The asylum and immigration crisis in Europe is not over by far. The distinction between refugees and economic or transit migrants may be quite clear on paper, but in practice it is quite complicated for officials to test the story of the refugee or migrant.

It is a difficult job that asks for a lot of humanity from those officials, even though they also have to swallow their frustrations when it becomes clear that the person made the story up.

It seems even harder to give refugees a residence permit because they are at risk of being prosecuted in their own country because of their homosexual orientation. Rightly, they should be given a residence permit. Increasingly, stories of gay refugees are labelled by the competent immigration service as “not homosexual enough,” and they are thus refused a residence permit. Nobody seems to agree on what the criteria of “homosexual enough” are exactly.

In the Netherlands, an application for family reunification was rejected because the man in question had a wife and children in his native country. His solicitor was of the opinion that “his client’s only choice in his native country was to get married, or be rejected by his family.” This is plausible, but if this “gay refugee” also indicated that he would like his wife and children to be transferred to the Netherlands, one can hardly blame the authorities for their reluctance.

In the European left, more and more people are arguing to give homosexuals the opportunity to apply for asylum in their own country to get the “gay refugee” status in countries that are not too keen on gay rights. Although the intention appears to be noble and humane, one does not need a university degree to see that this could give rise to a flood of asylum applications. In that case it will not be easy to distinguish what is genuine and what is not.

The question is whether transferring homosexuals to safer places like Europe is the solution. There is a lot of misery in the world, and we cannot fly everyone that is struggling to our part of the word, with the false promise of a better life. The ambition to improve the world this way is not realistic, and testifies of an unworldly vision.

And while we are busy trying to give homosexuals a chance, after establishing whether they are gay enough or not, we must continue the fight in our own country, in Europe, and in the United States, to keep our own rights and achievements secured. This also requires energy. If we do not carefully monitor this, we risk losing a lot.

Sometimes a striking case of homophobia comes to the surface, but most of it happens out of sight. This can be dangerous. Before we realize it, us homosexuals are back in the black books. So, before we promise homosexuals a safer life in our country, we must more than ever keep a close eye on the rights we already acquired. These rights should not be taken for granted! A lot needs to be done still.

Yours sincerely,

De Ket
 



 







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