Showing posts with label Austria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austria. Show all posts

August 17, 2018

Man’s application rejected as authorities say he did not walk, dress or act like he was gay

 Refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, at the Westbahnhof train station in Vienna in September 2015. Photograph:   Christoph Schlessmann/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Refugees, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, at the Westbahnhof train station in Vienna in September 2015. Photograph: Christoph Schlessmann/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
This story appeared on the Irish Times and written Derek Scally 
An Afghan man seeking asylum in Austria because he is homosexual has had his application rejected because he didn’t appear sufficiently gay for the migration authorities.
The 18-year-old man sought refugee status in 2016 because he said he faced persecution in Afghanistan. The application was refused because, in the words of the official, “neither your walk, your affectations nor your clothes give even the slightest indication that you could be homosexual”.
The asylum case-worker noted that the man, who was living in a hostel with other underage migrants, had been involved in fights, indicating “a potential for aggression . . . that would not be expected from a homosexual”.
Other reports from the hostel suggested the young man preferred small groups or his own company, prompting the official to ask: “Are homosexuals not more the sociable type?” A gay loner, the report adds, is not behaviour that “fits with an alleged homosexual”.
The official goes on to dismiss as “completely unthinkable” his claims that non-homosexual youths could have kissed him. “If you had really done that with a non-homosexual youth, then you would have received a terrible beating.” 
Finally, the official dismissed a claim the Afghan asylum applicant felt drawn to his own sex from the age of 12.
“In an under-sexualised society like Afghanistan, in which there are no public sexual allurements through fashion and advertising, it is not very likely to have been ‘sexualised’ so young.”
The final ruling of the official: “You are not homosexual and, on your return to Afghanistan, have nothing to fear.”


Homosexuality in Afghanistan is largely taboo and often linked with prostitution and paedophilia. After their takeover, the Taliban criminalised all non-heterosexual relationships outside marriage and executed in public men and women accused of adultery and same-sex acts. 
After the American invasion in 2001, a handbook for US marines noted that “homosexual behaviour is relatively common, but taboo, in rural Afghanistan, because there are no other outlets for normal sexual energies”. European and Austrian courts have ruled that homosexuality can be a legitimate reason for asylum if returning a gay man or lesbian to their homeland meant they faced likely persecution.
Even Austria’s migration authority admits in its 118-page report that bisexuals, homosexuals and transsexuals in Afghanistan face “brutal rejection” by mainstream society.
NGOs, the report continues, report of gay men being detained, robbed, raped and even killed. But the migration authority ends its report by telling the young man: “you are not homosexual, you just want to trick the authority.”
Determining homosexuality as grounds for asylum has proven one of the trickiest issues for authorities in Germany and Austria on the front lines of the 2015-2016 migrant surge. But a leading Austrian gay group said on Wednesday that the report, leaked to Vienna’s Falter magazine, was “so filled with prejudice, stereotype and cliche” that it disqualified itself.
The 18-year-old Afghan man has appealed the decision. The asylum authority is standing firm, saying that “viewed objectively, one cannot assume that the person in question is, in fact, homosexual”.

June 28, 2018

Gay Swans in Austria Attack to Defend Their Adopted Baby

While nobody drowned, numerous bathers and people simply strolling beside the lake are reported to have suffered attacks – and some of them were serious.
Several swimmers in fact required hospitalisation, with one of them receiving a deep flesh wound to the head courtesy of the protective parents.
"We had to act urgently," Steinegger told the Daily Mail. "But I simply didn't have the heart to have the two swans killed by a hunter."
Luckily, the mayor found animal wildlife expert Alexander Groder, who with his wife runs a wildlife sanctuary specialising in difficult animal rescue situations.
Groder and his wife were able to remove the swans from the lake, and has transported them to a special pond without boundaries in the state of Tyrol in Austria's west.
As for the exact circumstances of the pair's relationship, it's difficult to be certain – as it is with many cases of animal homosexuality – but Groder at least has some ideas about where the physical aggression could be stemming from.
"It may be two male swans living in a relationship," Groder told The OÖNachrichten.
"But one of them is strongly suppressed by the other, and I could imagine that the aggression comes from there as well."
It's not known whether the plastic cup will be making the trip with them, but in light of all the drama caused – and how committed these would-be parents are to protecting their unlikely offspring – we at least hope the family finds some well-deserved peace and quiet in their new home.
Science Alert

December 6, 2017

Austria Approves Gay Marriage by Stating "Equality is a Fundamental Right"

Same-sex couples will finally be able to marry in Austria after the country’s constitutional court ruled on Tuesday that laws prohibiting marriage equality are unconstitutional.

The ruling overturned a 2009 law permitting LGBTQ couples to enter into domestic partnerships but blocked them from receiving the full benefits of marriage. The ban will be lifted on Dec. 31, 2018, allowing same-sex partners to wed as late as 2019. Reports indicate that the European country may move to enact the changes sooner.

Judges ruled the earlier legislation constituted unlawful bias against same-sex couples.

“The distinction between marriage and registered partnership cannot today be maintained without discriminating against same-sex couples,” the court said in its written opinion.

The historic ruling makes Austria the 16th country in Europe to pass marriage equality, bringing the country in line with nations like United Kingdom, France, Ireland, and Belgium. The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex unions back in 2001.

But what makes Austria unique is that it’s the first country to recognize the freedom to marry as a “fundamental right,” says attorney Helmut Graupner in a Facebook post.

“Today is a truly historic day,” writes Graupner, the lawyer representing the couple who brought the constitutional challenge to the nation’s highest court. “[...] All the other European states with marriage equality introduced it... the political way.”

Austria is the latest country to push for marriage equality this year, following Malta and Germany. Its Western neighbor allowed same-sex couples to tie the knot in October after the Parliament voted 393 to 226 in favor of equality. The push for full marriage rights had stalled for a number of years after Germany enacted civil unions in 2001.

Australia will likely be next after the country voted in favor of same-sex unions in a November plebiscite. Sixty-one percent of voters cast a ballot supporting the right to wed, but that result is non-binding.

The Australian Parliament is currently debating a bill that would make those wishes the law of the land. A decision is expected soon.

But in a curious move, this week’s ruling from the Australian constitutional court will not strike down domestic partnerships. The country has claimed that the option will still be available for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

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