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You don’t look ‘effeminate’ enough to be gay, judge tells asylum seeker

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Lawyers condemn ‘shocking’ remarks

An asylum seeker claiming to be persecuted because of his sexuality has been denied asylum because the judge didn’t find him “effeminate” enough to be gay.

Barrister Rehana Popal says that she was “shocked, disappointed and disgusted” by the attitude of the judge deciding her client’s case, who also put on record his view that “on the gay scene younger men are highly valued”.

Taking to Twitter, Popal revealed that, in a recent appeal decision, the unnamed judge wrote that the man’s claim wasn’t believable because he didn’t have a gay “demeanour” or an “effeminate manner”.

Other tweeting barristers reacted with shock to Popal’s revelation. Laura Gould of Kings Chambers called the comments “unbelievably inappropriate”, while Cameron Stocks of Hardwicke called them “absolutely shocking”.

Popal herself told Legal Cheek that “although this determination is more explicit in stating stereotypes, determinations of this nature are not unique. LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are frequently asked to objectively ‘prove’ their sexuality”. She added “past sexual encounters are forensically analysed” in such cases.

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Leila Zadeh of the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group agreed that this was no isolated incident, citing other immigration judges’s comments about “how lesbian women have chosen to style their hair” and “the extent to which gay men are perceived as camp”. She added that “there are also examples of judges not believing appellants’ sexual orientation because they had not had multiple sexual partners”.

Popal, who practises from 10 King’s Bench Walk chambers, has previously blown the whistle on bizarre behaviour in the legal world. In November 2018, the Afghanistan-born advocate caused a stir by revealing that she’d been asked to return a case after a client said he wanted a white male barrister instead.

While immigration tribunal judgments are not usually made public, Popal says that she is hoping to get her client’s permission to publish an anonymised version.

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47 Comments

Anonymous

Notification to the judicial conduct investigation office ?

(28)(5)

Anonymous

Sounds like there will be a vacancy on the bench fairly shortly…

(13)(3)

Anonymous

What do you expect with all this gammon in high position?

(16)(43)

Anonymous

You’re saying the judiciary is too male and too white?

(8)(3)

Anonymous

Pale, male, and stale

(13)(7)

Anonymous

nice racist term just sitting there LC

(29)(7)

Anonymous

It’s only racist if it’s against non-whites. White males can be racially and sexually discriminated at will, but that’s cool. It doesn’t hurt our leftist overlords’ feelings.

Anonymous

Why are you assuming I am leftist? I am centrist.

Anonymous

Nice try leftie. Go back to your commune and help your comrades.

Future US Trainee

Plenty of gay people do not fall into the usual “gay stereotype”. Sure, there are some gay man who emanate with femininity, but not all. I was, too, quite shocked to read the decision, especially as someone who has a gay brother and who knows first-hand that everybody assumes that he is straight because he is very masculine. He is not camp, he’s only had two boyfriend (including one boyfriend turned husband). To think that if it he was in the situation of this poor chap, he probably would not be considered “believable” enough is heartbreaking.
Honestly, there is something fundamentally wrong with the perception of gay community and people by some members of judiciary.

(23)(10)

Anonymous

That’s only because of (i) the judiciary being comprised of a detached, virtue-signalling elite; and (ii) LGBTQ propaganda being shoved down our throats.

(12)(25)

Anonymous

Yawn.

(5)(5)

Anonymous

You haven’t read the decision, it hasn’t been published. What you have read is one barrister’s view on a case that she clearly lost.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

The outrage for outrage sake people seem to ignore:

1. We can’t give asylum to anyone who claims to be gay.
2. If we did we would become apologists and enablers of homophobia.
3. Homophobes, like all bigots, are complete morons. So if a man has no characteristics that the bigots would notice as or perceive as, gay, then it is implausible that such a person was at risk of being abused by the bigots. It is irrelevant whether the person is gay or not, the question is their safety in their bigoted society.
4. Effeminate straight men in a bigoted society are probably just as worthy of protection because BIGOTS ARE MORONS.

Or, you know, we could just lynch a judge … I really despair of of the fashionable popularity of mob anger among allegedly educated individuals.

(30)(20)

Anon

The point of the story is that the judge appears to be making the decision based on a stereotypical assumption of what gay people look like. Bigots who make the same wrong assumptions will target people, but they will also target people who don’t fit the stereotype if they believe them to be gay.

People who are being victimised need the protection of the international community. Judges should make these life or death decisions based on objective evidence. They should have the self-awareness to identify when they are using their own prejudices instead. It isn’t fashionable mob anger to point that out.

(12)(2)

Anonymous

But there is no reason the bigots would believe they are gay.

Applying the same test as the bigots is rational in that scenario. Your automatic assumption that the judge was prejudiced rather than rational is itself prejudice.

But there is a wider point that using your test also panders to homophobia and prevents the society evolving.

(4)(4)

Anon

‘My’ test is for the judge to receive whatever objective evidence is available and to make a decision, and to screen out batshit ideas about what they expect gay people to look like. If bigots believe that someone is gay because, for example, they are seen to spend the night with someone of the same sex, they will also attack them, regardless of how ‘gay acting’ they were.

(6)(1)

Magic circle partner

While the judges comments are unreasonable in my opinion, he must be understood as a product of his times

(2)(18)

Anonymous

Not at the cost of someone’s liberty and livelihood. If a member of the judiciary cannot get with the times then they should, in my opinion, get out.

(23)(6)

Nemesis

Yes, you are right. We should persecute them and make them flee abroad.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

This MC partner needs grammar lessons

(3)(2)

Magic circle partner

I earn more in a day than you do in a year. Now fuck off and do my printing for me Carol before I really lose my rag

(6)(14)

Anonymous

Ought he not really reflect the time at which he exercises his judicial duties?

(7)(3)

Anonymous

He based a judgment on a stereotype that has no basis in reality. This isn’t just discriminatory it’s a sign of incompetence which is unacceptable regardless of what values were prevalent in his time

(1)(0)

Anonymous

What is worst in this is that public funds are being wasted on asylum cases, when it should be 100% administrative. And everyone claims to be gay, or a Chinese Christian or whatever the excuse that works this month happens to be. The vast majority of these claims are lies.

(17)(8)

Anonymous

BANTER!

(0)(3)

Anonymous

The problem with these ‘quotes’ is that the casual observer has no idea of the context in which they are allegedly said. Perhaps the judge had set out a series of reasons why he didn’t accept the applicant’s evidence, and this was a throwaway line at the end, far from the basis of the whole decision.

But of course, chuck it into the echo chamber for muchos internet kudos.

(13)(5)

Anonymous

There is almost certainly a large amount of context to this story which we are not hearing.

(9)(2)

Anonymous

There is almost certainly a large amount of context to this story which we are not hearing. Furthermore, a few years ago it was an open secret amongst people smugglers and asylum seekers that claiming to be gay was an easy way to gain asylum in this country and many hundreds lied about it in order to gain enry – it’s little wonder that courts have sought to toughen their scrutiny.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Probably didn’t happen…

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Who would be a judge?

The person before you says that he or she is seeking asylum because he or she is a homosexual.

What are you supposed to ask or say as a judge other than “prove it?” Of course, that amounts to both (a) proving that the person is homosexual (and how do you do that pray tell?) and (2). proving that because of said homosexuality their life was in danger.

My advice would be this: Judge, say nothing, let the applicant prove, beyond the balance probabilities, the above two facts. No proof: No asylum status.

It should, if nothing else, cut down the number of asylum applications.

(7)(2)

Anon

Aren’t the judges critics asking him to do just that, and not to use his own ‘campometer’ test instead?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I would prefer to see a full transcript of the hearing.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Truth is the first casualty of being left wing …

(6)(1)

Anonymous

But what if we had a muslim judge…? SPOILER ALERT: ‘Gay man found guilty’.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

Or not, because he didn’t appear gay.

(0)(0)

Bob

This barrister is a serial attention seeker. It is not the job of counsel to be shocked or disgusted or whatever.

(16)(4)

Anonymous

The man probably wasn’t gay. Pretend you are gay and they are more likely to let you in through fear of being seen as discriminating against the gays. Unfortunately for the blagger he got rumbled. Not sure if I see the issue here, the guy got called out

(5)(3)

Anonymous

A barrister with an agenda who likes media attention, that is what I see here.

I don’t see why a suitably redacted and anonymised transcript cannot be obtained here.

(7)(3)

Drumpfenkrieg

The judge was not PC on this occasion but everyone knows that these asylum seekers commonly pretend to be gay in order to plead persecution back in Bongo Bongo land. It was probably such a case, the judge simply made a blooper whilst delivering the correct judgment.

(7)(4)

Anonymous

Lol but you’re right. They then get given a flat in Islington all paid for by the taxpayer

(3)(2)

AlEx’S mUmSy

and then I have to pay their rent as well as that useless alex’s out of my 80 hour shift wages in a soho subway, but do I complain? No cos I’m tOo SeNiLe AnD dErAnGeD!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

How to ask for asylum, if your identity and personality is not at risk?

Do not insult a judge intellect…

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.

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