Middle Eastern man attracted to transgender women wins asylum after appeal

A Middle Eastern man who found solace in Auckland's LGBT scene has been granted refugee status. (FILE)
123RF

A Middle Eastern man who found solace in Auckland's LGBT scene has been granted refugee status. (FILE)

A Middle Eastern man fearful of being killed on account of his attraction to transgender women has been granted asylum in New Zealand.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal upheld an appeal that his fears of being persecuted in his home country were well founded and accordingly granted him refugee status.

The man told the tribunal he feared that his conservative Sunni Muslim family would disavow or kill him if they learned of his sexual preference.

He said his interest in transgender women — in particular, those who were both Asian and "petite" — would be a "bigger shame" to his family than being gay.

READ MORE:
* Gay refugee wins drag pageant 

Becoming Sergeant Rhona: a transgender cop who found acceptance in the force
* Opinion: NZ's patchy record of Muslim immigration
* Chechen police arrest and kill suspected gay men
* 10 countries where homosexuality may be punished by death

The man, who has name suppression, was initially denied refugee status in New Zealand but won an appeal against the decision in January.

In 2015 he visited a bar in central Auckland known to be frequented by members of the gay and transgender community.

He was hesitant about visiting it, however, as it was in close proximity to a number of Middle Eastern restaurants.

His anxiety about being seen approaching a known gay venue by fellow Middle Easterners forced him to find a shortcut that avoided the restaurants.

His experiences in New Zealand, including an "amazing" encounter with a transgender woman who was a prostitute, allowed him to find solace in Auckland's gay and transgender scene, having endured a history of sexual abuse and confusion during his upbringing in the Middle East.

Ad Feedback

He said those experiences, combined with teasing by school mates and religious lessons about the sinfulness of homosexuality, made him anxious and unhappy.

While homosexuality is not illegal in his home country, discrimination against gays is rife, and LGBT activists have reported honour killings in the Middle Eastern nation.

Anxiety about not fitting in with Middle Eastern norms, along with nights spent staying up to watch gay pornography, affected his later attempts to start a career, he told the tribunal.

The man got a work visa for New Zealand and found a job. . He said he still felt pressure to suppress his homosexual leanings and had a short-lived relationship with a woman.

He quit his job and moved to live with her, but said they broke up after a few weeks as neither party was sexually gratified.

A period of unemployment, depression, and problem-gambling — funded by money sent from his family — followed.

In 2015, he discovered New Zealand's transgender scene, which came as a revelation.

He told the tribunal that while he had been aroused by "lady-boys" when watching pornography in the Middle East, he had thought they were actors. He said he had not realised transgender women existed outside of the porn industry.

He also said the transgender scene was the only place he felt secure: mutual suffering and desire to change themselves led to a "shared understanding", he said.

He said he now knew he was sexually and emotionally attracted to transgender women — in particular those who were both Asian and "petite" — and sought someone to form a long-term relationship with.

Although in weekly contact with his family, he said his life could be in danger if he went back to his home country and they — or Middle Eastern society at large — learned of his sexuality.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Cliff collapse swallows back yard video

All that was left was a slab of decking hanging precariously over the cliff edge.

Deck hangs precariously after 10-metre cliff collapses on a coastal property in east Auckland.

Errors undo Auckland

The Counties Manukau defence wrap up Auckland wing Caleb Clarke in their 16-14 win in Pukekohe.

Derby defeat for Auckland and Canterbury get set to bring All Black back to NPC arena.

Power pole crashes cut power

FILE PHOTO: Lines company Vector was called to restore power to Whitford and Mt Albert after cars crashed into power lines.

Two cars have hit power poles in Auckland, causing outages in Whitford and Mt Albert.

Double rainbow in Coromandel

Rachael Scott snapped these pictures of a vivid double rainbow over the Coromandel Peninsula.

A spectacular double rainbow had one motorist looking for the pot of gold.

Wellington

Stream win WelTec Premiership

St Patrick's College, Silverstream celebrate their win over Wellington College in the WelTec Premiership final on Sunday.

A 17-11 win over Wellington College saw St Pat's Silverstream win their first Wellington premier rugby title since 2012.

Plastic seawall no-go video

The Paekakariki sea wall, looking north.

Kapiti bureaucrats ditch plan to build $10.9m plastic seawall after reports reveals it would bulge.

One dead in two-car crash

Emergency services are attending a serious crash on the Napier-Taupo Highway.

State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo reopens after fatal crash that also left four injured.

Falling rocks ahead video

Falling rock on August 18 in the Ngaio Gorge in Wellington.

Tiny blue car just escapes falling boulders as dashcam captures danger in the Ngaio Gorge.

Canterbury

Anger over flooding and erosion

Alastair Burgess, commodore at the South New Brighton yacht club, surveys erosion near where the proposed new club will ...

Every time rain is forecast, Sam Hawkins clears sand and stones from the stormwater outlet behind his holiday park.

Four-lane highway?

Christchurch's motorway project is already part of the Government's Roads of National Significance scheme.

Christchurch to Ashburton route earmarked for upgrade in $10.5b roading investment.

$250k for hospital beds, helipad

Ruby Allen suffered from an acute respiratory illness from seven months to age five.

In a night, generous Cantabrians raised $156k to help the cash-strapped health system.

Idea to keep Cathedral a ruin

A Walker Community Architects' plan for Christ Church Cathedral.

Architects suggest keeping Christ Church Cathedral as a ruin surrounded by reflective pool.

Waikato

The great Pinetree falls gallery video

All Blacks legend Colin Meads.

OBITUARY: All Blacks legend leaves one of the great rugby legacies.

Sir Colin Meads dies video

Sir Colin Meads has died, aged 81.

All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads has died following a year-long battle with cancer.

Pulled from river after crash

Rescuers work to free the couple from the ute shortly after it plunged 10 metres down the bank into the Waikato River at ...

Bystanders in Cambridge, including an off-duty police officer, saved two from submerged car.

Marae teems with politicians

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira spoke to the crowd.

It was mainly a Maori Party party, though, with a sprinkling of National MPs.

Taranaki

Early changes almost prove costly

19082017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/STUFF.  Mitre 10 cup rugby, Taranaki V Waikato at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.  Seta ...

Plenty to work on for Taranaki ahead of next match.

McLeod ready to bolt

New Plymouth District Councillor John McLeod has decided he will retire from the council at the end of this term.

New Plymouth District councillor John 'Horse' McLeod says he will step down in 2019.

A promise to fight for Tangaroa

The protesters held hands and made a promise to Tangaroa to protect it for future generations.

Hundreds protesting the recent seabed mining decision say the fight has just begun.

Birthday business gift

Anika has been learning the value of money.

They've gone one better than the good ol' roadside lemonade stand.

Manawatu

Karen community celebrates

The Karen community hold their first Wrist tying ceremony in Palmerston North. Keelar Pasta, 13, has a go at wrist tying.

Amid music, traditional food and dress, Karen people are celebrating their culture.

$10.5b roading plan

Manawatu Gorge will be a roading focus for the National Government.

Major upgrade to stricken Manawatu Gorge part of ambitious vision to improve New Zealand's roads.

Volunteering in Jordan

Zoe Dekker will head to Jordan to help Syrian refugees. She is walking 100km with her father, Paul Dekker, to raise money.

Zoe Dekker is heading to Jordan to help Syrian refugees.

No injuries after crash

Police attended a one-car crash on Manawatu's Saddle Rd.

Police were called to a one-person car crash on Friday night.

Nelson

Bylaw divides opinion

The bylaw was created to deal with Lewis Stanton and the issue of freedom campers in the city.

The council's bylaw to ban rough sleeping, and require a permit to protest, is put under the legal microscope.

Indoor market planned

Tony Vining and Gill Ireland inside the former Mill building on New St, now destined to house a microbrewery.

A new indoor market could soon set up shop in the Nelson CBD.

Hansen: Squire 'phenomenal'

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19:  Liam Squire of the All Blacks is tackled during The Rugby Championship Bledisloe Cup ...

All Blacks No 6 "lovely to watch" as he stepped up in Sydney, coach Steve Hansen says.

Humans of Nelson

Humans of Nelson

A national storytelling initiative has hit Nelson, driven by a  passionate group of locals.

Marlborough

Push for change on plastic bags

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says more than 900 people have taken part in a survey on ...

The results are in, and the people are pushing for a charge on plastic bags.

Eduction issues

Marlborough Girls’ College acting principal Jo Chamberlain.

What are our aspirations for our young people today and in the future, and how best do we as a local community support them?

Wine on tourists' agendas

Tourists enjoy wine and food at Black Barn Vineyards in Hawkes Bay.

Cultured wine tourists spend more, stay longer, and are looking for a social experience.

A different class

New classrooms at Spring Creek School, near Blenheim, offer an improved learning environment.

Removing walls in the classroom is not just about removing physical barriers, but about breaking down obstacles to learning.

South Canterbury

TBHS First XV knock over Christ's

TBHS wing Tevita Eukaliti has too much pace for the defence on his way to scoring in the corner.

Timaru Boys' High School First XV show too much class in victory over Christ's College.

ESOL numbers rise

Waimataitai School ESOL students, from left, Bogdan Stoiljkovic, 8, Lusiana Isaako Tuala, 7, and Pratistha Naicker, 7.

Dairy industry and affordability linked to increase in number of ESOL students.

Offering support for fathers

Jason Brokenshire looks at a recent photo of him with his three children.  He hopes to set up a support group for fellow ...

Timaru man wants to create awareness and support for other fathers after separation.

Hospital services key 

Timaru Hospital.

Services key to Timaru Hospital rebuild, observers and sector groups say.

Southland

South's top cop defends officers

Southern district commander Superintendent Paul Basham says "some things can go wrong sometimes".

Alleged murder, stalking and sexting cases involving police may harm reputation of hard-working officers, top cop says.

Car hits cop, dog

The scene on Dee St, Invercargill, where a police officer and dog were hurt as a spiked car came to a halt.

A policeman and dog went under a car as officers tried to subdue a driver in Invercargill.

Milestones for accountants

Mervyn Gillick , 95,was the oldest member in attendance at the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Southland ...

There was no shortage of experience on hand at a chartered accountants members lunch.

Dunedin Hospital plans welcomed video

Prime Minister Bill English flanked by ministers, Michael Woodhouse, left, and Dr Jonathan Coleman while in Dunedin on ...

Dunedin civic leaders are backing plans for a new hospital to be built in the central city.

Ad Feedback