This thesis seeks to answer the question of why certain individuals seeking asylum in the United States have a much more difficult time than others. I am particularly interested in LGBTQ+ asylum seekers and how their claim for asylum based on persecution of their sexual orientation poses a challenge to their cases being deemed credible, believable, and ultimately worthy of asylum. Homosexuality is considered as membership in a particular social group per asylum law. As such, individuals can claim that their country of origin persecuted them on the basis of their membership in the collective LGBTQ+ community. When these persecuted persons reach the United States of America to claim asylum, they then must start the very difficult, long, and taxing process of substantiating their asylum claims. As a part of this process, they have to produce a “unique,” corroborated, and believable story to prove that they were persecuted because of their gender identity, which the law defines as an immutable characteristic. Drawing on queer theory and asylum cases, I will provide explanations and answers as to why LGBTQ+ asylum seekers have a more difficult time in being granted asylum than non-LGBTQ+ applicants in the United States asylum regime. I argue that foreign LGBTQ+ individuals have a more challenging task of producing "believable" narratives that adhere to the Western image white homosexual male image; Western conceptions of queerness do not consider the cultural and religious differences of LGBTQ+ people in other parts of the world, exacerbating the asylum-seeking process for members of this international community.
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