The immigration and asylum system is a very complicated process, but one Austrian judge took it a step too far.
According to Gay Star News, a gay Afghan asylum seeker, named Navid Jafartash, left for a new home in Vienna, Austria. Navid left Afghanistan in 2014 after the need to escape persecution arose.
Since then, Jafartash has built a life for himself in Vienna including meeting and dating a lover.
Now four years later, Navid Jafartash shared that his application for asylum was denied by the Federal Office for Aliens and Asylum (otherwise known as the BFA). Even worse, he says it’s because he couldn’t name the meanings of each Pride flag color.
"[The official] asked me what the colors of the rainbow flag mean, I did not know that," he told Austrian news program ZIB 2.
Plus, Jafartash's June application for asylum based on sexuality was denied without the BFA bothering to do a thorough investigation such as interviewing Jafartash's partner.
That said, his application rejection soon became public knowledge thanks to news coverage and the help of an Austrian LGBTQ refugee rights group called Queer Base.
According to Queer.de, Gay politician Mario Lindner shared his anger at Jafartash's situation in a statement.
"It can not be that the fate of refugees seems to depend on questions that are part of the [ORF Quiz Show] Million Show, but for sure not in asylum interviews. If such questions are to prove the sexual orientation of a person, then I am gay only with the help of Wikipedia."
Lindner also argued that the report shows "abuses that many have been warning about for a long time."
He also added that the Austrian authorities have a duty to "handle asylum procedures fairly and with decency."
Thankfully, Queer Base helped defend Jafartash and get the BFA to reconsider his application.
Now this past Monday, August 13, the Federal Administrative Court ruled in favor of Jafartash.
“We are very happy and so is Navid and we thank all his supporters!” wrote Queer Base on Twitter.
Sadly, Navid Jafartash's story is not a new one to Austrians. Queer Base states that there has been "enormous political pressure" in the past few months to reject asylum seekers.
This goes against a European Court of Justice ruling in 2013 that stated that gay and lesbian people are considered a "social group" who are entitled to asylum when threatened with persecution in their home countries.
Thankfully, the Austrian Ministry of Justice states that 42 percent of rejected asylum applications have been repealed, and Jafartash's case is now one of them.
And for the record, the meanings behind the colors of the Pride flag created by Gilbert Baker are:
- red for life
- orange for healing
- yellow for the sun
- green for nature
- turquoise for art
- Violet for spirit
- Bonus: The flag used to include the colors hot pink and indigo (for sexuality and harmony), but were phased out because of the expense of those colors.
h/t: Gay Star News, ZIB 2, Queer.de