On Dec 21, 2016 Daily Xtra reported: When will our immigration system recognize that so-called safe countries are actually dangerous for queer and trans citizens?
In August 2016, Rolston Ryan, who is originally from St Kitts and Nevis, was finally acknowledged as a refugee and allowed to remain in Canada after a three-year fight. Ryan was stabbed and beaten in St Kitts because of his sexual orientation and escaped to Canada in 2013 after he was threatened with a gun. Arshy Mann/Daily Xtra
For most LGBT asylum seekers, the hardest part is proving their identities.
And immigration officials will find all kinds of nitpicky, even ludicrous ways to discredit refugee applicants.
That wasn’t the case for Rolston Ryan.
Coming from St Kitts and Nevis, Ryan’s sexual orientation was never in question. The very first panel that heard his case agreed that he was a gay man. They even agreed that he faced a serious possibility of persecution if he were deported back to the Caribbean.
But they still wanted to send him back to a country where he’d been beaten and stabbed, and where gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
It took three years, four appearances at refugee hearings and two trips to the federal court for the government to finally agree that Ryan was in fact a refugee.
Part of the problem was that there’s very little public information about the treatment of LGBT people by smaller countries, like St Kitts and Nevis.