Lesbian Asylum Seeker Told to Hide Identity by German Court


A German court this week reportedly denied an Iranian lesbian’s asylum petition on grounds that she had failed to prove that she couldn’t just return to Iran and act discreetly so as to avoid being persecuted.

Reports The Local:

Samira Ghorbani Danesh fled Iran in 2009 and has been living in a women’s shelter in northern Bavaria since.

She now has until the end of July to leave, Die Welt newspaper said on Thursday as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees refused the 24-year-old asylum.

Danesh is appealing the decision after being told by the Bayreuth administrative court that “she was unable to make the danger she would face in Iran believable” and that she should return and live a “reserved lifestyle like other Iranian homosexuals.”

Yet in Iran, gay women are punished with 100 lashes — and can face the death penalty if convicted a fourth time.

Danesh, a qualified architect, fled Iran after a party she and other gay and lesbian friends were at was raided by police. While she was able to get away from the raid, many of the those in attendance, including her long-term girlfriend, were taken into custody. Danesh has not seen her girlfriend since.

Pink News reports that Danesh’s lawyers have won the chance to once again petition the court on Danesh’s behalf. They have also authored a letter, signed by a member of Germany’s parliament, Volker Beck, from the Green Party, that calls on officials to ensure that LGBT asylum cases are taken seriously.

Of course, press coverage of this case in fact works in Danesh’s favor because, if she wasn’t known to Iranian authorities prior to this court case, it is very likely that news about her will have reached authorities by now.

LGBT asylum applications have met with with a tepid reception throughout Europe, including in the United Kingdom, with judges appearing skeptical of the grave dangers that LGBT asylum seekers face should they be deported back to their home countries.

This has prompted the European Parliament to call for greater asylum protections, and in particular for LGBT applicants, to ensure that genuine cases are not overlooked.


Related Reading:

Gay Iraqi’s Story of Death Threats and Attempted Rape (VIDEO)

Gay Asylum Claims Still Not Being Handled Correctly in Britain

European Parliament Calls for Greater LGBT Asylum Protections

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to s_falkow.


John B.
John B5 years ago

Thanks Steve for the article. My heart goes out to Ms. Danesh and I do hope the publicity works in her favor. Hope you will post an update on this Steve.

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V5 years ago


Kynthia R.
Kynthia Rosgeal5 years ago

I was told to hide my identity at work or face being dismissed. Of course, in my case it was merely a job, I cannot POSSIBLY imagine her horror.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

I guess they've forgotten that the Third Reich murdered homosexuals.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley5 years ago

Absurd ruling. I hope that she is granted asylum in future. If she doesn't I fear for her life in the future.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

That's ridiculous. Germany knows what it's like for LGBT people in Iran. Also it's not illigal to be gay in Germany so what's the problem.

Phillip M.
Phillip M.5 years ago

I wonder if any of the "justices" would like to hide their identities if they were forced to do so if their lives depended upon it? They take so much for granted being straight that they think nothing of telling those in danger of losing their lives to just go back into the closet and hide in terror worrying about being found out at any time in your life. This is just ridiculous in this day and age. From what century are these supposedly learned justices? I hope this person can appeal this ruling and find a more sympathetic court that actually understands what it is like to be an human being and what the consequences can be when religion plays its ultimate hand at determining the fate of a person's life whether they are of that faith or not. I would bet that this person is from a country that practices Theocracy which is where Rick Perry and Rick Santorum would have liked to have taken us if they had won the election.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

Hopefully the EU countries will accept LGBT persecution by so many countries as grounds for asylum more with the greater knowledge the public awareness from media coverage should provide.

John Mansky
John Mansky5 years ago

Well it is Germany. What else can one expect?..

Muriel C.
Muriel C5 years ago

Sickening. I'm straight and it makes we want to barf