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Queer Refugees, Western Stereotypes and Denial

Queer Refugees, Western Stereotypes, and the Denial of International Persecution Protection due to Multi-Layered Marginalisation

About this event It is now over 10 years since the Supreme Court in HJ (Iran) HT (Cameroon) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] UKSC 31 found there is no obligation under the Refugee Convention for gay people to conceal their sexuality in order to avoid persecution. In accordance with HJ (Iran), a Queer refugee needs to ‘prove’ their sexual orientation, needs to show that as a Queer person there is a real risk they would be persecuted in their home country, and that either they would not or could not conceal their sexual orientation or, if they could, a material reason for concealment is to avoid persecution. This talk will examine how multi-layers of marginalisation often result in Queer refugees being denied refugee status as they do not conform to Western stereotypes of financially independent ‘out and proud’ white gay men. It will examine how the judiciary has imposed a narrow view of what it is be ‘open’ about one’s sexual orientation and has used a stereotyped view of non-Western cultures to find that people are not at risk due to their sexual orientation in their home countries. It will propose that the courts have misinterpreted HJ (Iran) and have introduced a modified concealment test. Finally, it will propose why the ‘HJ test’ should not be applied to refugee claims based on gender identity.

About the speaker Allan is a barrister at One Pump Court chambers. He specialises in asylum, immigration and free movement law, unlawful detention claims, and corporate responsibility to ensure there are no human rights abuses in supply chains. He is a founding member of the Trans Equality Legal Initiative (TELI) and a former trustee of UKLGIG, the UK’s only charity dedicated to LGBTQI+ refugees, and is still an active volunteer. He is the author of The Recognition of Refugees Based on Sexual Orientation Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the UK: An Overview of Law and Procedure published in the Birkbeck Law Review.

One Pump Court
Allan Briddock, Barrister, One Pump Court