An 18-year-old Afghan native seeking asylum in Austria may have had his application denied because he didn't act gay enough.
The unnamed teenager, who's been living in Austria since 2016, first applied for asylum on the basis of his Hazara heritage, according to Deutsche Welle (DW). The Hazara minority is persecuted in Afghanistan.
Later, he said he couldn't go back to his home country because he's gay. Homosexuality is against the law in Afghanistan and many other Muslim-majority countries.
"Of course it's difficult to tell people that you're gay, when you live in asylum accommodation centers where you still have to hide your sexuality. He was a teenager—they need time and a trustful environment," LGBT rights activist Marty Huber tells The Washington Post. Huber works for Queer Base, a human rights organization that's representing the Afghan teen.
But the teenager's asylum application was rejected by an Austrian official who didn't think he acted gay enough. "The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual," the official wrote in his assessment, according to AFP.
The official also based his assessment on the fact that the teen had gotten into several fights and appeared to be something of a loner. "You appear to be capable of a level of aggression which would not be expected among homosexuals. You didn't have lots of friends.…Aren't homosexuals usually more sociable?" the official said.
There's more. AFP reports:
The official rejected the statement that the Afghan teenager had kissed straight men, saying he would have been beaten if he had done so, the Falter reported.
He had said he became aware of his sexuality when he was 12 years old, but the official found that was "rather early" and so not likely, particularly in a society such as Afghanistan "where there is no public sexual stimulation through fashion and advertisement".
Austria's Interior Ministry wouldn't confirm the details of the case to the Post. But it noted that "using a few sentences out of" the 120,000 asylum decisions the government has made in the last two years "does not reflect reality."
"Asylum-seekers must substantiate their reasons for fleeing," the ministry said in a statement to DW. "There are no concrete rules of proof, but the authorities must show if and why a claim was found to have been substantiated."
The teen is appealing his asylum rejection.
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