Gendered Violence 7d - Gendered Violence: LGBTIQA+ asylum seekers


 ‘I have to hide my personality once again’: Violence against LGBTIQ+ Refugees and Asylum Seekers

A cartoon by the artist Eaten Fish depicts himself standing to the right of the frame. A taller and intimidating man, who looks both friendly and potentially sinister stands over him. The man asked if he can see his cartoons. The gravestones of Reza Barati, Hamid Khazaei and Omid Masoumali are depicted in the foreground. One man peers between coconut trees and looks toward Eaten Fish, another hides behind a gravestone. They both appear to be preying on Eaten Fish. Surveillance cameras encourage the men to sexually assault Eaten Fish. Various speech bubbles pop up in the cartoon which speak to the risk and vulnerability of the cartoonist to sexual harassment inside the Manus detention centre. [imagecaption] Artist: Eaten Fish. The artwork of Eaten Fish documents the sexual violence that he experienced while detained on Manus Island. It speaks to how constant monitoring and surveillance provides no protection for vulnerable men who are targeted. [/imagecaption]


‘I had to get out of Iran and…I came to Australia, a country that says that it supports human rights…but unfortunately the Australian government brought me to a place where I’m still in danger.’

‘Mohammad’, gay asylum seeker held on Manus

Homosexuality is criminalised in PNG and punishable by a prison sentence of up to 14 years. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Nauru  in 2016, however homophobia remains prevalent. Behrouz Boochani has written of how gay, transgender and bisexual men on Manus have been forced into silence. A series of letters published in The Guardian written by gay men held on Manus, and the publicly reported case of ‘Nima’ and ‘Ashkan‘, a refugee couple from Iran held on Nauru, highlight the violence that LGBTIQA+ asylum seekers have experienced as a result of Australia’s offshoring policy. In 2018 Abdul Karim Hekmat reported that Nima had descended into a catatonic state, repeatedly denied care by IHMS. Ashkan pleaded for help, declaring that he was himself was near breaking point.

The violence has been perpetrated by the state, by local communities and by fellow prisoners. The prisons camps are sites of violence; they expose people to violence and heighten their  vulnerability to perpetrate or become victims of violence. The Manus complex, as a dynamic of violence and aggression, also reaches into local communities from the RPC as a locus which breaches all manner of human rights.


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.