Not that kind of gay : credibility assessment and the concept of sexual orientation in European asylum law
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Recently, more and more countries have recognised sexual orientation as a ground for asylum. This has led to a shift from rejecting such claims because of a lack of recognition of the ground under asylum law to a “culture of disbelief” of the applicant’s claimed sexuality. When assessing the credibility of the claimant’s sexual orientation, case workers and judges often take an approach loaded with heteronormative and culturally insensitive stereotypes of homosexuality. This thesis uncovers how the history of sexual orientation asylum claims has led up to a very recent judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ABC) that puts an end to the most evident human rights violations in credibility assessments. Furthermore, this thesis postulates that the problems that still prevail in the after-math of this judgement are conceptual. The misconception lies in focusing on assessing the true sexual orientation of the applicant rather than the perceived difference and persecution. This thesis has a strong theoretical focus and argues for a radical shift away from trying to prove the sexual orientation of asylum applicants by re-interpreting the concept of sexual orientation in European asylum law in the light of queer theory, intersectionality and international human rights standards.