The U.N. Refugee Agency (“UNHCR”) issued new Guidelines on International Protection for people seeking refugee status due to persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The Guidelines define “gender identity” as “each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.” The Guidelines state that “gender identity and its expression … take many forms, with some individuals identifying neither as male nor female, or as both. Whether one’s sexual orientation is determined by, inter alia, genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and/or cultural influences (or a combination thereof), most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”
Guidelines on International Protection No. 9: Claims to Refugee Status based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 23 October 2012, HCR/GIP/12/01: Claims to Refugee Status based on Sexual Orientation andor Gender Identity