The interview that determines whether a person will be granted refugee status lasts only a few hours. However, in most cases, asylum seekers may well have been awaiting that moment for years. During those years, it is advisable to prepare oneself by gathering as much information as possible in order to increase the chances that the interview will be successful. Those who have fled from war zones have to prove that they had really lived in them; those who have been persecuted for their political opinions must show the history of their commitment. What do immigration agents want to know about those who have been driven from their countries because of their sexual orientation? This is the question asked by young men and women from Gambia, who have fled homophobic violence and are seeking the protection of the UNHCR in Dakar. Since they have had to deal on a daily basis with discrimination by many Senegalese – who consider gays and lesbians to be “bad” Africans and Muslims – queer youth from Gambia wonder whether immigration agents will have the same stereotypes. To try to get a sense of these stereotypes, these asylum seekers use social networking to connect with others who have already succeeded in being granted “LGBT refugee” status.
- social networking
- West Africa