[This article is authored by Shriya Kamat and Priyal Sanghvi, students at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. It attempts to highlight the disproportionate emphasis on the sexual preference of the LGBT+ community while seeking asylum and need for a structural change in the asylum regimes.]

Abstract

The oppression and marginalization of the LGBT+ community in various societal spheres have been long known, but ‘queer migration’ due to persecution based on their identity is a relatively recent phenomenon. LGBT+ applicants face a range of legal, social and procedural hurdles throughout their asylum application process. In general, the experiences of LGBT+ individuals are often homogenized, and the assessing authorities fail to take into account factors such as race, religion, and nationality, which play a vital role in the persecution faced by them. A disproportionate emphasis lies on proving their sexual/gender identity, as opposed to their past persecution, which points towards a need to pay close attention to issues of credibility. The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 1951 provides a range of rights to refugees; however, the living reality of LGBT+ refugees in host countries is entirely different. They face discrimination while accessing housing, employment, medical assistance, etc. Due to their LGBT+ status as well as their refugee status, they are doubly marginalized, and hence the denial of their socio-economic rights amounts to a violation of their fundamental human rights. Such a denial defeats the primary purpose of refugee law, which is to offer surrogate protection to refugees. The authors have analyzed reports of LGBT+ refugees in different countries to emphasize the need for structural changes in their asylum regimes. Such refugees are fundamentally different from and more vulnerable than ordinary refugees, which warrants the need for distinctive measures in order to safeguard their interests.