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Double marginality of LGBTQA+ refugees

In the context of refugee protection, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and Homophobia have majorly halted the overall discourse. It is because prejudice is responsible for influencing state policies, the negative portrayal of refugees in the media and the growing hatred and distrust of the citizens of Europe. In recent years, the rise of homophobia has been exponential in Europe especially in some of the European Union member states that have populist right-wing governments. The European Court of Justice has maintained that the members belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) community are considered refugees eligible for asylum as they are members of the social group under the definition of refugees in 1951 Geneva Convention. This equally stands true for the EU Law on international protection.

But in reality, LGBTQI refugees well face double marginality. They face persecution and discrimination based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) along with inherent discrimination that comes from being an asylum seeker. Member states such as Hungary and the Czech Republic have been accused of using unscientific psychological tests such as draw-a-person-in-the-rain, Szondi, Rorschach on LGBTQI refugees to identify if they are what they really claim to be. These tests are not just intrusive but also violate human dignity and results in degrading treatment of refugees under the European Convention on Human Rights. The LGBTQI refugees have a right to self-determination as per the Yogyakarta Principles on SOGI which also gets violated in the process of these tests because they are asked to prove their sexuality through evidence. Because of the lack of uniform protection along with homophobic rhetorics, LGBTQI refugees are rejected in the refugee status determination for being “too girlish” or “for not being able to walk or dress like a homosexual.”

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