Indian transsexual claims abuse at home, seeks asylum in UK

Nov 30 2013, 16:40 IST
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SummaryAn Indian transsexual, who fled to the UK after facing violence, has urged British authorities to accept his request for asylum as deportation to India would leave him open to torture and elimination.

An Indian transsexual, who fled to the UK after facing violence, has urged British authorities to accept his request for asylum as deportation to India would leave him open to torture and elimination.

Sameer Neelam was born a female but lived with a woman in secret as a male in Hyderabad before seeking asylum in the city of Bradford in northern England.

He claims to have suffered violence and harassment after being "outed" by the Indian media and is fighting against being deported back to India.

"Here I'm considered as what I am. In India I can't dress like this. Nobody counts me as a man. If I open myself as a man in India, I will be looked down on, tortured, discriminated, eliminated," he told the BBC.

"I'm enjoying my life as a man and if somebody calls me 'Mr' or says 'he' I feel energetic."

Under British government guidelines for asylum applications from transsexuals, a claim can be made "when he or she fears persecution on account of his or her actual or perceived gender identity which does not, or is deemed not to, conform to prevailing political, social or cultural norms in his or her country of origin".

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and applications are carefully considered before a decision is made. It would be inappropriate to comment further while legal proceedings are ongoing."

Neelam, who has not undergone any sex change surgery, claims to have been a prominent female local official in Hyderabad. After his double life as a man was uncovered he became suicidal until he was able to come to the UK.

He is expected to find out whether his plea for asylum in Britain will be approved in the coming weeks. A rejection would lead to his deportation to India.

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