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How do you prove you are gay?

For decades being gay was something to be denied and hidden and often that is still the case. A person who was suspected of being gay would have to try to “prove” they were straight. Time and culture change and in some situations today the tables are turned and a person claiming to be gay may be asked to prove it.

The case in point: Canada’s immigration laws allow people to make refugee claims if they are gay and from a country were they would be persecuted or suffer violence for being gay, even if that country isn’t one from which Canada would normally accept refugee applications. However, as with any good thing there are those who will abuse the system and there have been worries that some straight people will pretend to be gay in order to be allowed to immigrate.

Alvaro Orozco is a young gay man who ran away from home in Nicaragua when he was twelve. He fled a father who threatened to beat the gay out of him and a country where same-sex relationships were criminalized in 1992 and the law is “vague enough that individuals campaigning for gay rights or providing sexual health information could also be prosecuted.” He hitchhiked his way to the US border and was captured after nearly drowning while swimming across the Rio Grande. After spending a year in detention he was released on the promise that he would return to his home country. However, he broke his promise and lived in the US illegally for the next several years. Eventually he made his way to Buffalo and found a group that would help him file a refugee claim in Canada.

Recently his immigration hearing came up and the Immigration Review Board member who heard his case decided he wasn’t really gay and ordered him deported to Nicaragua.

How could she tell he wasn’t gay?

Deborah Lamont, the IRB member who heard his case via video-conference from Calgary, didn’t believe Mr. Orozco was gay because he wasn’t sexually active during his teen years, and wasn’t clear about his sexual orientation when he fled Nicaragua at the age of 12.

Now Ms. Lamont clearly needs some remedial education to disabuse herself of gay stereotypes, but this does open up an important question: Short of doing a sex act in front of the judge, how exactly does someone prove that they are gay? Character references from friends or lovers? But if you are new in the country, you may have not met many new friends yet. Maybe by appearance? That didn’t work in this case as witnessed by the reporter’s stereotyped writing:

Soft-spoken with delicate features, wearing a pink-checked shirt, Mr. Orozco certainly looks the part

So my question to you is, if you were in this situation, how would you prove that you are gay? Is it even possible?

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Stephanie

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