EU Court Of Justice: Asylum Seekers Cannot Be Forced To Undergo “Gay Tests”

A Nigerian refugee was forced to take a Rorschach test, draw a picture of a person in the rain, and undergo other testing to determine if he was truly gay.

The EU’s top court ruled that immigration officials in Hungary were wrong to force a Nigerian asylum seeker to undergo psychological testing to determine if he was telling the truth about being gay.

On Thursday, the Court of Justice in Luxembourg called such examinations—which included drawing a picture of a person in the rain and taking the Rorschach ink-blot test—an invasion of “the most intimate aspects” of life.

The case in question involved an unnamed refugee applying for asylum in the Hungarian city of Szeged in April 2015. A state-appointed psychologist concluded that, on the basis of his test results, he was not gay and his claim was rejected.

The man appealed, claiming the tests violated his rights and provided no insight into “the plausibility of his sexual orientation.”

In its ruling, the ECJ said it was acceptable to seek expert opinions, but they must not be the sole basis of a determination and an asylum seeker’s civil liberties must still be respected. “The performance of such a test amounts to a disproportionate interference in the private life of the asylum seeker,” the court determined.

Homosexuality is illegal in Nigeria, with a punishment of death by stoning in some regions governed by sharia law. (Elsewhere violators can face up to 14 years in prison.) According to a 2007 Pew Research poll, 97% of Nigerians believed homosexuality was unacceptable, one of the worst rates in the world.

Katrin Hugendubel‏, advocacy director for ILGA-Europe, called the ruling “an important step against one of the many problems and humiliations LGBTI refugees still face in many EU member states.”

In 2010, the EU condemned the Czech government for using “phallometric” sexual arousal tests to determine if asylum seekers were actually gay.

A court in Szeged, Hungary, must now reconsider the Nigerian refugee’s case in light of the ECJ ruling.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.