Follow-up to NYU JILP Symposium on LGBT Asylum and Refugee Law

by NYU Journal of International Law and Politics

In response to the online symposium on LGBT asylum and refugee law held two weeks ago by the NYU Journal of International Law & Politics and Opinio Juris, the Journal received several additional pieces of commentary. The contributions below specifically tie to Professor Ryan Goodman’s article, Asylum and the Concealment of Sexual Orientation, which also appears in issue 44:2:

“To counteract some of these concerns, [Hathaway & Pobjoy] place great faith in international human rights and anti-discrimination law pertaining to LGBT rights to constrain decision-makers’ reliance on their own subjectimve understandings of sexuality.  However, it is unclear that international law can bear such a weight in this particular context.” Goodman, 44 N.Y.U. J. Int’l. L. & Pol. 407, at 441 (2012):

Thank you again to Opinio Juris for its critical support on this important issue, and also to all of the authors.  Below are four new contributions to the dialogue by:



New York University Journal of International Law and Politics, Vol. 44:2 Online Symposium

by NYU Journal of International Law and Politics

The NYU Journal of International Law and Politics is partnering once again with Opinio Juris for an online symposium.  The symposium will correspond with the simultaneous release this week of our Vol. 44, No. 2 issue, featuring a ground-breaking piece by Professor James Hathaway, a world-renowned leader in refugee studies and director of Michigan’s refugee law program, and Jason Pobjoy, a Ph.D. candidate in Law at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge and a visiting doctoral researcher at NYU.  The article, Queer Cases Make Bad Law, serves as a point of departure for contributions by other leading scholars, who examine and expand on issues raised by the piece.  Here is a short summary of the article and an introduction by Editor-in-Chief Jeff Stein.

On Thursday and Friday, several of the print contributors as well as other international experts will engage on various topics intersecting with LGBT asylum and refugee law raised by Professor Hathaway’s article here at Opinio Juris.  Rather than taking a traditional Q&A approach, we felt that it would be more productive to actually use direct quotes from the Hathaway/Pobjoy article and responses to ignite conversation. The first two panels focus on the definition of “being persecuted”, while the second panel focuses on the issue of “nexus”.  The following is the schedule and roster of participants:


Panel 1: Thursday, March 8th, 8am – 12pm

James C. Hathaway and Jason Pobjoy, Queer Cases Make Bad Law, 44 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 315, 388 (2012):

“No, there is no well-founded fear of exogenous harms, such as prosecution or beatings, where a gay man would in fact opt for seclusion to escape such threats. But, given the traumatic effects that normally follow from self-repression (anxiety, paranoia, disassociation, or worse) there is an alternative and solid basis, grounded in the traditional link between persecution and risk to core norms of human rights law, to affirm refugee status. Because the risk of severe psychological harm has been authoritatively interpreted to contravene the right to protection against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, this is the persecutory risk that is most likely to be well-founded in such cases.”