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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

USA: How Gay Do You Have To ‘Act’ for Asylum?

from Gay Financial Network:

Growing up gay in Mexico, 35-year-old Jorge Soto Vega faced severe harassment and violence from the community and his family from an early age, even beaten by police. So he snuck into the United States, fell in love and ran a flower and interior design shop in Los Angeles.

Now he wants asylum so he can legally remain. But the U.S. government is trying to send him back.

Last year, a Southern California immigration judge ruled that there was credible evidence that Soto Vega was persecuted in Mexico because of his sexual orientation, but rejected his application for asylum in the U.S., saying Soto Vega didn't appear gay to him and could keep his sexual orientation hidden if he chose to.

"I don't see anything in his appearance, his dress, his manner, his demeanor, his gestures, his voice, or anything of that nature that remotely approached some of the stereotypical things that society assesses to gays, whether those are legitimate or not," wrote Judge Taylor last year in denying asylum.

Soto Vega has appealed, and soon it will be up to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide how gay is gay enough - or whether that should even be an issue.
read full story ...


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