Bhagat, Ali. “LGBT Asylum Claims in Post-1994 Cape Town.” Master of Arts in Political Science, McGill University, 2015.

  • Category: Literature
  • Source: Academic
  • Subject: Xenophobia,Asylum/Refugee,Discrimination,Gay,Homophobia,UNHCR,Sex work,Sexual Orientation,Transgender,Violence
  • Place: Congo, Democratic Republic of the,Kenya,South Africa,Zimbabwe
  • Year: 2015
  • File: LGBT_Asylum_Claims_in_Post-1994_Cape_Town
LGBT asylum claimants and refugees receive little attention in South Africa despite the state’s progressive constitution specifically in terms of sexual orientation. This primarily qualitative study conducted through in-depth semi-structured interviews with LGBT asylum seekers and NGOs examines the ways in which refugee status is limited through, what I term, afro-homophobia. I argue that the implicit heteronormativity of the South African state detrimentally affects LGBT refugees applying for asylum within its borders. I explore two sides of this argument: 1) The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in South Africa is incapable of justly evaluating sexual minority asylum claims due to poor training; bureaucratic backlog and disorganisation and the persistence of homophobic and afro-phobic1 mindsets. 2) South Africa— specifically Cape Town—is not a safe haven for forcibly relocated LGBT migrants and the state continues to de-prioritise LGBT issues assuring that violence follows sexual minorities from their country of origin to their re-location sites in Cape Town. In doing so this research contributes to refugee and migration studies through the examination of sexual minority refugees who navigate a system which excludes them.