Exhibit A


Being gay can be grounds for gaining asylum in tolerant countries if you come from, say, Iran, Uganda, or Cameroon, where gays are persecuted. This avenue of escape has caused authorities in some quarters to suspect that people are falsely claiming to be gay. As reported in an earlier BTW, some countries, such as the Czech Republic, have even used tests to verify claimants’ sexual orientation (what’s a “phallometer” for, after all?). This practice was criticized as a human rights abuse, but now asylum seekers are taking the initiative to prove their homo bona fides. In England, a barrister named S. Chelvan who specializes in asylum cases with the UK Border Agency, has documented the extraordinary lengths to which individuals are going, notably by filming themselves in gay flagrante and submitting the footage as evidence. The obvious punch line here is that a government policy is inadvertently turning people from very conservative cultures into amateur porn stars. The reality is that these folks are greatly raising the stakes for themselves, especially if their claim is denied—in which case the horror that awaits them at home becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. This in turn must weigh on authorities who know that they now possess the most incriminating evidence against these folks that could exist—which is all part of the bluff in this high-stakes game: “Now you really can’t send me back there!”