S Chelvan from No5 Chambers discusses challenges faced by LGBTI refugees

On 22 January 2014, S Chelvan from No5 Chambers gave a presentation at Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre as part of the ‘Human rights, asylum and refugee protection: exploring the confluences, constraints and contradictions’ public seminar series.

Chelvan’s presentation was entitled ‘At the end of the rainbow: where next for the LGBTI refugee?’ and discussed the culture of disbelief and the hurdles that face lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees in proving refugee status based on actual or perceived sexual or gender identity.

He discussed how a victim’s lack of conformity with a heteronormative stereotype can lead to persecution and can motivate migration. He highlighted the urgent need to focus on perception as the primary factor in LGBTI refugee claims.