Gay Asylum Seekers Asked ‘Inappropriate’ Sexual Questions By Australian Official


Depressed man with hoodie

A gay Bangladeshi couple seeking asylum in Australia were asked highly personal questions about their sex life by a government official, including whether they swallowed each other’s semen, according to documents released under Freedom of Information.

The Bangladeshi men (not pictured), who were seeking protection in Australia on the basis that they were a gay couple, were asked the questions in interviews with a government case officer in 2012, Buzzfeed reported.

In one interview, one of the men, called Applicant A, was asked about when and where he had last had sex with his boyfriend, referred to as Applicant B.

“Was it all over within minutes? Or a longer period? 30 minutes to one hour,” Applicant A was asked.

The officer pressed the man further, asking, “So you gave him oral sex. Did he ejaculate? … Did he reach a climax? Did he come? And roughly how long did that take?”

The officer later asked Applicant B about a “sexual incident” between them that prompted Applicant B to go to a clinic.

“I believe he said that um you ejaculated into his mouth,” the officer said.

“What was the concern? What prompted you to go there?

“Why was drinking his cum a problem? So you don’t normally do that? You’ve only done that once?”

The officer subsequently rejected the two men’s application for protection visas but in 2014 the Refugee Review Tribunal overturned the decision, writing in its ruling that the questions the official asked were “very intimate” and “intrusive”.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson told Buzzfeed they acknowledged some of the official’s questioning was “inappropriate and insensitive”. The department said the case officer concerned was later “counselled about their conduct.”

The spokesperson said such questioning would not be used today and since 2012 the department “has significantly strengthened its guidelines, and provided additional training, on assessing LGBTI claims and conducting applicant interviews in a sensitive manner.”

Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown told BuzzFeed that “this level of sexually explicit questioning is shockingly inappropriate, particularly given the applicants have a history of trauma and persecution based on their sexual orientation.”

“Comparable jurisdictions, such as the European Union, have banned questioning of this kind because it violates the applicant’s rights to privacy and human dignity,” Brown said.

Brown said there are numerous examples of “inappropriate sexually explicit and stereotypical lines of questioning” in Australian tribunals and courts.

“Ridiculously, there have been instances where gay people have been tested on their knowledge of Oscar Wilde or particular gay nightclubs on Oxford Street, and applicants have felt compelled to produce footage of sexual encounters to prove their claim,” she said.

Brown said officials should focus instead on applicants’ “self-identification and exploring their personal narrative about the rea