South Africa: When Stereotypes, Misconceptions and Wikipedia Decide the Fate of LGBTQI+ Asylum Seekers

Our review validates what LGBTQI+ asylum seekers have been saying for years — it suggests that these individuals are being denied administrative justice, be it due to direct discrimination or procedural errors. Our study indicates that the South African state is falling short of its domestic and international obligations.

“A person who is gay would normally not be in the company of girls. That on its own, [sic] contradicts [the applicant’s] claim that he is gay. … In addition to that he claimed that he was in pain after he had been raped. Consequently he would not have chosen to be a gay if indeed he was in pain after that rape incident. … There is no credibility in this application. The application is fabricated. … Zambia is a Christian nation and as such the citizens of the country live by the Christian values. The applicant would not have become a gay if he was indeed a Christian. He would have adhered to those values.”

These words are taken verbatim from Anold Mulaisho’s refugee status denial letter. Anold came to South Africa in search of protection, having fled Zambia after a lifetime of homophobic abuse. When submitting his asylum application,…

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