However, human rights groups and asylum-seekers bemoan the fact that while even a hint of being gay or lesbian can cost you a military career, you risk being denied asylum if you are not "gay enough."
The New York Times tells the story of Romulo Castro, a homosexual and native of Brazil, who, trying to be sure he would gain asylum,
considered attending his asylum interview in Rosedale, Queens, dressed as Fidela Castro, a towering drag queen in six-inch stilettos, a bright green poodle skirt and a mane of strawberry blond hair. In the end, Mr. Castro, 34, opted for what he described as understatement: pink eye shadow, a bright pink V-neck shirt and intermittent outbursts of tears. ...Jhuan Marrero was challenged about his "macho demeanor" by the immigration officer at his asylum interview. Victoria Neilson of Immigration Equality referred to a 21-year-old lesbian who was initially denied asylum because she was young, attractive and single, apparently not conforming to the officer’s stereotype of a lesbian.
"I knew I had to put on the performance of my life,” [he said.] ...
“Judges and immigration officials are adding a new hurdle in gay asylum cases that an applicant’s homosexuality must be socially visible,” said Lori Adams, a lawyer at Human Rights First.... “The rationale is that if you don’t look obviously gay, you can go home and hide your sexuality and don’t need to be worried about being persecuted.”
What, wasn't she butch enough? This is insane and just shows how, sixteen years after the immigration rules were changes, a bigoted, stereotyped view of homosexuals persists.
Chris Rhatigan, a spokeswoman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said such behavior by immigration officers would not be condoned.
“We don’t say that someone is insufficiently gay or homosexual, whatever that would mean, or that he or she could be saved by hiding his or her homosexuality,” Ms. Rhatigan said. “Sexual preference is an immutable characteristic. It is something an individual can’t or shouldn’t change.”Well, good for the words. Now how about backing them up with some actions, such as making clear to every immigration officer what you just said.
Footnote: It seems that the Czech Republic has been testing the claims of homosexual asylum seekers by attaching genital cuffs to monitor their responses to pornography. The Times reported that human rights groups in the US expressed relief that the use of such a device is impossible to imagine here.
Considering how recently it would have been equally impossible to imagine the US government openly advocating, justifying, and engaging in illegal domestic spying, indefinite imprisonment without charge, and torture, I think they had better think again about tossing around the "it can't happen here" line.