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Iraqi asylum seeker was outed by Austrian immigration after application was rejected

The 27 year old was told he displayed over the top 'feminine' gestures

2018-08-30

An Iraqi asylum seeker whose application was rejected by Austrian authorities was outed to his family by immigration officials.

The 27 year old – who gave the name Firas - was said to have displayed ‘stereotypical, in any case excessive ‘girlish’ behaviour (expression, gestures)’ which the Austrian officials believed to be fake.

But now, Firas has admitted to The Independent that he plans to challenge the Austrian courts after his sexuality was revealed to his father and brother, despite assurances the information would remain confidential.

He said: “I told the interviewer my family don’t know everything [about my sexuality] because of my culture and religion.

“The interviewer said it was private. But then my father was asked [by Austrian immigration officials] if he knew he his son was gay, and my father said I wasn’t and that I had invited girlfriends round for lunch.

“After that, my application was rejected. They said I was acting and trying to look like a girl. I was told I could move back to Iraq and keep my sexuality a secret as I had already done that when I was growing up.”

Firas left Iraq when he was 24 but said he is scared to return to his family after being outed by the immigration officials.

He continued: “What should I do with my feelings? Now I am living apart from my family here in Austria because I am scared.”

Joe Niedermayer, of the group RoseLila PantherInnen who are handling Firas’ case, said it is a death sentence to send them home after multiple people have been rejected by Austrian officials.

He said: “It is a death sentence to send them home. They don’t want refugees here right now. But in the cases we work with, if the people go home they could be killed.

“We had documents where we had partners who certificated that they had sex with him, but even this was not valid proof. They didn’t look at all the facts we had.

“The interviewer was asking his father, ‘Do you know your son is gay?’”