LGBT+ Zim Asylum Seeker Faces Deportation From Ireland Because Officials Say She Does Not Look Bisexual Enough
17 November 2020
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Constance was told to return to Zimbabwe despite the fact that she fled anti-LGBT+ discrimination and is an essential worker

A healthcare worker who fled anti-LGBT+ discrimination in Zimbabwe has said her application for asylum in Ireland was rejected because she didn’t “seem bisexual”.

Constance, whose name was changed to protect her identity, told CNN that she fled Zimbabwe because of widespread anti-LGBT+ sentiment – but she was left heartbroken when Ireland’s Department of Justice denied her application for asylum, despite the fact that she is a frontline worker.

The nursing home worker was told that her reason for leaving Zimbabwe did not add up as she did not “seem bisexual”.

Constance appealed her application on humanitarian grounds after she was handed her first rejection. Through this process, she was able to provide evidence of her good character and conduct in Ireland.

She believed that her job as a healthcare worker in a nursing home would strengthen her application, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Constance also supplied a “glowing reference” from her employer, who told asylum officials that her work was essential.

Despite this, she had her hopes dashed when she received a letter on 28 October telling her that she would be deported.

Asylum seekers working on the frontline of the pandemic are being ‘chased away’ to the countries they fled.

Another woman, named only as Lily, found herself in a similar position to Constance.

Lily, who also fled Zimbabwe in 2016 due to anti-LGBT+ sentiment, works in a nursing home in Dublin. She was left heartbroken when she received a letter telling her that she no longer had “permission to remain in the state” and that she must leave voluntarily or face deportation.

Lily told CNN: “They are saying the frontline workers are the heroes… but behind closed doors they are chasing us away and kicking us back [to the counters we fled].”

Both women chose to keep their full names secret due to fears that their asylum applications could be affected if authorities discovered they had spoken out.

LGBT+ rights in Zimbabwe continue to lag far behind other countries, with gay sex still illegal, while same-sex marriage is banned under the constitution.

Queer Zimbabweans have no legal protection from discrimination, violence and harassment, while LGBT+ people are often forced to remain closeted to protect their safety.

Source: CNN/Pinknews Ireland