03rd February 2021
LGBT Ireland shares concerns expressed by the High Court at conclusions drawn by an IPO official relating to the credibility of bisexuality in countries where legally and culturally being LGBT+ is both illegal and considered taboo.
The recent “Mr X” case (bisexual Nigerian asylum seeker whose application for international protection was rejected on the grounds of credibility and whose subsequent appeal against a deportation order also failed) highlights concerns long flagged by LGBT+ applicants for international protection in Ireland, across Europe and by LGBT+ organisations working to support them. These concerns relate to experiences at their official interview, reported by many LGBT+ applicants.
UK barrister S Chelvan, a recognized expert in asylum cases based on sexuality and gender identity, created the Difference, Stigma, Shame, Harm model (DSSH) precisely to combat the type of Western European ethnocentrism exposed on the case of Mr X. It is a model which explains a different and universal lens through which to seek to understand the lived experience of an LGBT+ person in many different parts of the world. Training in the DSSH model equips officials to better understand the complexity of discovering and expressing one’s identity across diverse cultural contexts, as well as the nuance required to truly ‘hear’ the personal story being painfully and frighteningly revealed, often for the first time to an official.
IPO officials need to be trained to uncover both their unconscious bias and their level of cultural awareness and to be equipped to make the life-changing decisions they make from the best-informed knowledge and understanding. This will remain necessary as long as ILGA’s annually published Rainbow Map of the World continues to report levels of protection / lack thereof which exist for LGBT+ citizens in countries around the world. In December 2020 ILGA published their most recent map of state sponsored homophobia and it verified 11 countries where the death penalty applies; 57 countries where between 8-10 years imprisonment applies. Nigeria, native country of Mr X is one such country.
LGBT Ireland will be following up on its concerns with the Department of Justice as a matter of urgency seeking greater transparency on the level of training IPO officials have received.
Contact: Collette O’Regan, Senior Training and Advocacy Coordinator, LGBT Ireland.
Ph: 087 431 4594