In the midst of one of the busiest periods on the job, I was contacted by "Javad". I knew him before; we had several conversations about the challenges that come with life as a paperless, gay asylum seeker.
This time the voice was heavier than it used to. He was hospitalized, bloody and bruised. Hate crime, I explained to him after describing the course of events. It's not law, it's not okay. You have to report this, Javad.
He agreed to it, and I reminded him ten times that he would report it as a hate crime, so that they would look at the matter with the seriousness of it.
Then the phone rang. He was at the police station and wanted to announce that he had been arrested; he was to be sent to Trandum, then to Afghanistan. He had deportation decisions – so he was the criminal.
How could this happen? It was my fault, after all, what made me think that the police would take his hate crime case seriously?
I was scared and angry. I had grown fond of him, he had become a little brother. As alone as he worked in all the misery he had to experience, I needed to give him care and hope.
Absurd. Fortunately, he was no longer sent to Trandum in the first place. Although he had to spend Christmas and New Year in prison, he was given hope. Some lawyers could help, they would try the case in court.
It is so absurd to sit in a courtroom where the plaintiff is trying to prove – or substantiate, as it's called – its gay orientation.
I've encountered it before – and so quickly a person's sexual orientering becomes a throwing ball and the subject of sarcastic exchanges between weary caseworkers, judges and lawyers, I become physically ill. I got extra bad this time. I imagined how I would handle the same situation, what I would say or do to prove my bias in a lawsuit.
Because questions about sexual orientering are not "objectively ascertainable", they assess Javad's overall credibility.
As soon as a person's sexual orientering becomes a throwing ball and the subject of sarcastic exchanges between tired caseworkers, judges and lawyers, I become physically ill.
He has dumbed down properly. He lied when he came to Norway, both about the background and the reason why he fled. He lied because he was scared and because he had received some advice from the human traffickers he should not have followed. I can imagine what his journey to Norway was like, so lonely. How would I react if I had to explain to the court why I spent so much time living out my orientation? Even though I had an accepting family and network around me?
It is so absurd to hear witnesses being asked: Do you think he is gay? Yes, they answer. For two days, unknown people will undress him while sitting alone, and they will witness that all the parts of his life – parts that others keep to themselves – are dissected in front of them.
Untrue Worthy. It can be difficult to prove his gay orientation in the face of the immigration authorities. Of the 68 people who were "likely to be made" last year, 45 was not believed. Several of them never had the opportunity to meet the people who decided they were not gay.
Javad also fails to convince the judge. It has not been sufficiently proven to the court that he is gay. His girlfriend seems believable, but they are not believed. There are too many moments of doubt; why didn't you say anything about the relationship before?
As if it's the easiest thing in the world.
Javad fell in love, but would not tell the immigration authorities about his fresh relationship, because he did not want the new girlfriend to know that he was a paperless asylum seeker, and may even be called as a witness in the asylum case. He was embarrassed. He was afraid it would cause his girlfriend not to see his good sides, that it would scare him away.
After Javad finally refused his asylum application, I asked him to tell his girlfriend about the asylum case, and he did. It went well. The girlfriend was no less interested, fortunately.
What would I do? Had I dared to say something to the one I was in love with? I try to get into his place to understand his choices. I hadn't handled it as well, I suspect.
The court says that they understand why as a gay lie about their orientation, but they do not understand why Javad should have lied about other details as well. He did not want to be traced back to his family, so he lied that they were not alive and about his identity. The overall credibility is weakened.
The court has been upheld, the verdict has come: You are not gay.
He is crying. I cry.