Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Trans Mexican to be Granted Asylum in Canada


by Steve Weinstein
New York Editor-In-Chief
Friday Jan 18, 2008

A transgender Mexican national who claims he’d be killed in his homeland for crossdressing looks as though he’s getting another chance to become a Canadian refugee, cnews reports. Jose Arturo Contreras Hernandez, who now lives in Toronto, "fears danger to return to Mexico because he is a homosexual and likes to dress as a woman," Justice John O’Keefe wrote in a Federal Court of Canada ruling in Hernandez’s favor last month.Hernandez arrived in Canada in 2006 but was not able to appeal to Canada’s policy of granting asylum to those facing persecution in their homeland. Hernandez had filed an unsuccessful refugee claim that the Immigration and Refugee Board threw out. Cnews reports that IRB members didn’t believe he was in peril in MexicoHe was able to appeal the decision to a federal court, which granted another hearing. Immigration lawyers say that will most likely result in his remaining in Canada. "My client is very pleased with the decision," Hernandez’ lawyer Lani Gozlan said. "He is a very feminine man who likes to dress as a woman at times. This is the first case I know of involving a cross-dresser. Mexico is a very macho society and it is too dangerous for him."David Garcia, a Latino activist in Toronto, agreed. "He will be called a freak," Garcia told cnews. Hernandez said his father attacked him. He testified he was also attacked in a washroom of the Department of Agriculture, where he worked, kidnapped and forced to drive around with a gun in his mouth.The United States has a similar asylum clause, and some African gay men and lesbians have been trying to use it to remain here. The cases remain pending.

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