The Home Office quizzed a bisexual asylum seeker on LGBT terminology during his interview process
A bisexual asylum seeker from Pakistan was scrutinised in an interview with the home office after he was quizzed on LGBT terminology.
The asylum seeker was asked 194 different questions concerning his reasons for seeking asylum in the UK during his interview in August.
Former Home Secretary Theresa May ordered for an investigation to be held into the processing of asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation.
The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, John Vine, found a fifth of asylum interviews contained stereotyping and a tenth contained inappropriate and sexually explicit questions.
The Home Office advised that caseworkers to be aware that the concept of sexual orientation is not represented in all languages.
It also reminded workers that certain words in some languages can imply that the behaviour is inappropriate or “sinful” so unfamiliar words and phrases may be used, whilst some may not identify under the category of LGBT because it is unknown to them.
Many of the questions the Pakistani man was asked were about LGBT terms despite recommendations being implemented to improve the treatment of LGBT people seeking asylum.
The Home Office issued the recommendations following the investigation, but progress has yet to be made and guidelines are not yet being followed, as can be seen from the interview conducted with the man who wishes to remain anonymous.
The official transcript of the interview from the Home Office shows he was asked what LGBT meant.
He replied: “It’s short for this community. L is for lesbian, G for gay, B for bisexual and T for trans.’
He was also asked if the T in the abbreviation meant trans.
He answered “Yes I only know that”
Then later he was asked why he said the T stood for trans, when it stood for transgender to which the asylum seeker said “in my opinion, gender means any human.”
He has now been refused asylum and awaits an appeal hearing.
Paul Dillane, executive director of UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) told PinkNews: “Ignorant questions like this corrupt the asylum system and prevent LGBT people fleeing persecution from securing often life-saving refugee protection.
“Despite positive improvements in official policies, the UK Home Office still has much work to do to ensure officials are properly trained and LGBT asylum seekers are respected and protected.
“It is a grim irony that this official has demonstrated their ignorance in this way given that none of the approximately 400 asylum officials employed by the UK Home Office receive specific or compulsory training on issues concerning trans people.”
A report compiled by UKLGIG and Stonewall revealed that staff are ill-equipped to meet the needs of LGBT asylum seekers when it comes to protecting them from harassment.
Interviewees from the report also said they had been denied medication such as anti-depressants and HIV-drugs.
Many of the LGBT asylum seekers had also suffered rape and torture in their home country, but are detained despite the Home Office ruling that people who have suffered abuse should not be placed in detention.
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