Her asylum bid but was rejected by the Swedish Migration Board 14 months later because she is ‘not gay enough’

A 28-year-old Kenyan woman is facing deportation after failing a test to prove she is a lesbian.

Lucy Murugi, who came to Sweden two years ago, claims that she fears going back to Kenya because her life is in danger. Lucy told Swedish journalists that her family had turned their back on her as soon as they found out her sexual orientation and only got help from her cousin who helped her get a visa and accommodated her in Marsta, Stockholm.

Lucy then applied for asylum but was rejected by the Swedish Migration Board 14 months later because she is ‘not gay enough’.

According to the Swedish Migration Board, a person has the right to asylum in Sweden if he feels well-founded fear of persecution because of his or her sexual orientation.

When the person has applied for asylum, Migration Board makes an individual assessment of the asylum seekers right to protection.

When an asylum seeker claims to belong to the LGBT group, it must probably make it possible for the Migration Board. To “make probable” is a lower requirement than to “prove” because a sexual orientation cannot be proved. The Swedish Migration Board makes a credibility assessment.

A person seeking asylum is entitled to a legal counsel. If the asylum seeker is lucky, he will be assigned a lawyer who is specialised in the complex LGBT investigations. The first step in the investigation is an in-depth interview with the Swedish Migration Board, a so-called credibility assessment. By answering the questions of a prosecutor, the asylum seeker shall provide all reasons and information that the Migration Board will take a position.

Some of the questions asked by the migration board include: “Would you describe yourself as lesbian or gay?”, “When do you feel that you became sexually interested in other people? How do you think about this?” And “For me, this sounds like a form of sexual exploitation of you, and not one Equal sex relationship “

“I did not understand anything. No one told me what to expect. What I would do or say, or at least give me some guidelines,” she said.

Lucy further alleges that her life is in danger because her name has been released as a lesbian in the infamous Ugandan Tabloid Red Pepper among 200 other African lesbians.

This is not the first case of a Kenyan seeking asylum in Sweden due to their sexual orientation. Last year, a Kenyan man married a fellow man in Stockholm.

Eric Wangai, known as ‘Ricky’ to his friends, went to Sweden in January 2016 and wed his ‘sweetheart’ in December last year.

The 29-year-old told The Nairobian through an email interview that he knew he was attracted to men, but fearing reprisals, had girlfriends to cover up his homosexuality.

Although Ricky acknowledged that being gay is biblically and culturally considered taboo, besides being illegal under Kenyan laws, he could not help being who he felt he was. He even quotes the book of Leviticus 18:22 in the Bible in which God warns His people against sleeping with fellow men.

“I just felt attracted to men since childhood, but the attraction became unbearable when I was in Form Two at the age of 16. I knew my family would not be okay with my status, so I had to act normal, although not for long,” he says.

Ricky, who went to Stockholm Sweden for further studies, says being gay in Sweden is easier as, “I study in Stockholm and it’s a gay-friendly country. Same sex marriage is allowed and gays live openly with no fear. We even party and celebrate on the streets on our pride occasion which attracts big multitudes of spectators,” he says.