Innateness and invariableness should be considered legally irrelevant to LGBTI asylum claims

It’s almost Pride week in Amsterdam, and since it’s mostly parties here and not much communal protesting anymore, I’m going to do some more meaningful sort of posts over the next week. I’ve been saving up articles on LGBTI human rights issues for some time.

The questions in the article below are worse than LGBTI people’s asylum interviews are supposed to be in the Netherlands now. Thanks to @cocnederland’s campaigning, such blatantly discriminatory questions are not normally asked in asylum interviews here now.

However, the system is still built on the assumption that LGBTI people should have to establish that being LGBTI is an innate and invariable personal characteristic. That should be considered irrelevant legally.

The Convention reason which LGBTI persecution claims come under is “membership of a particular social group”. The relevant thing then is whether the actor(s) of persecution would attribute membership of the particular social group to the person, not even whether the person believes it to be true of themselves, let alone whether it’s innate and invariable.

Even if being L, G, B, or T is not an innate characteristic in at least some cases, and even if the person who reasonably fears persecution doesn’t believe the attribution of this particular social group identity to themselves is true, if the actor(s) of persecution attribute the particular social group membership to them, then logically that should be considered to fulfil the five elements of Refugee Status according to the law.

Innate categorical difference between LGBT people and other people I think is probably a cultural invention to allow “straight” people to avoid feeling anxiety about whether they’re actually straight afterall or whether straightness even really exists in human nature. It will only seem necessary to pretend “straight” naturally exists as long as being recognized as LGBTI is something people would wish to avoid due to the social consequences.

There are no other social animals that are “straight”. All other, non-human social animals known to science are more or less bi or flexible, and a few individuals of a few species other than humans are exclusively and persistently gay, notably, gay penguins. 🏳️‍🌈🐧

That segues into why, biologically, all social animal species known to science are not straight: there are about 5 different biological explanations for non-heterosexual behaviors which make sense to me, and it makes more sense when seeking to explain the diversity of sexual behaviors to distinguish between social or political coalition forming behaviors and pair-bonding behaviors. Ecological niches in which animals tend to evolve to have fewer offspring and higher parental and familial investment in each offspring generally seem to favour evolution of more flexibility in how sexual behaviors are used to form social bonds; including in humans, apparently. Non-straight sexual behaviors for social coalition bonding are ubiquitous; non-straight pair-bonding is quite rare; but so is male-female pair-bonding rare among all animals, about 1% of all mammalian species do it. Humans are not as monogamous as prairie voles, which are the classic model species for scientific investigation of pair-bonding behaviors.

Reference for this paragraph:

The assumption that LGBTI identity has to be an innate invariable characteristic or else it is invalid is scientifically unfounded. It’s an arbitrary choice to assume that. Laws should only be made on an objective and rational basis, not arbitrary choices.

Political opinion is also a Convention reason for a valid Refugee Status claim. A political opinion is not an innate and invariable characteristic, but the freedom and right to exercise personal conscience in politics is an innate human characteristic. Sexuality is similarly essential to becoming fully a person, free and in community, like freedom of conscience in politics, and, likewise, conscientious, i.e. not unreasonably harmful to others, personal choices in sexuality should be respected as the exercise of a personal freedom that deserves to be socially and politically protected.

So I recommend not only challenging when asylum procedures systems discriminate grossly compared to other reasons for asylum claims, but also challenging the root assumption that LGBT identity (I is innate) has to be an innate characteristic or else invalid. That assumption has no basis in scientific evidence nor logical and consistent interpretation of the law. It is arbitrary and irrational and therefore unfit to stand as law.

The freedom to choose what form of sexual intimacy and through what sexual relationships to seek love is essential to being and becoming fully a person, with freedom in relationships and in community, is an innate human characteristic, and, as long as the way it is exercised does not violate anyone else’s fundamental human right more seriously, that freedom in sexuality deserves to be treated as a human right. It is the same logically as the consensus that particular political opinions do not have to be shown to be innate invariable characteristics, but the right to freedom of political opinion, as long as the opinion is not involving disproportionate harm to others, is an innate human characteristic, and necessarily related to the recognition of and practical respect for intrinsic human dignity universally.

#LGBTI #Pride #asylum #law #humanrights

Lapsed biologist retraining as a social data scientist, often writing about refugee rights advocacy and political philosophy.