Thursday, 10 December 2015 - 14:15
Gay asylum seeker forced back in closet in Haarlem shelter
Syrian asylum seeker Amjad Bashir hoped that he would be able to be open about his sexuality in the Netherlands, but he still has to hide the fact that he is gay from the other asylum seekers living with him in the emergency shelter in Haarlem, the 24 year old man told Het Parool. "I am open to the people who are close to me", he said to the newspaper. "It's better that the rest do not know." He added that it is definitely better in the Netherlands than it was in Syria. Outside of the shelter he enjoys a free life. He can go to gay bars and recently even made a Dutch friend he met through a dating app. But in the shelter, it is back to Syrian rules and etiquette. "As soon as I enter the dome, I step into the Middle-East." Bashir told the newspaper that he definitely does not want to become known as the "gay refugee", but felt that he should say something given the discussion going on in the country about separate shelter for LGBT asylum seekers. Amsterdam recently found a separate place to house LGBT refugees after reports of threats, intimidation and violence in the emergency shelter in the city. A number of institutions also reported incidents. Bashir himself has not been threatened, but he thinks a separate shelter is a good idea. At least then you're among people who think the same. Bashir made it clear that he wants to be known for who he is - a Syrian refugee, son, brother, DJ, has a degree in human resources. And yes, he is also gay, but that shouldn't be an issue, especially not in the Netherlands."In Syria I was a DJ, I turned in the underground scene. I the Netherlands I already met several DJ's and producers. Recently I got my own laptop and mixer to make music. I do this in my room, which can now be locked", he said to the newspaper. He also organized parties while studying in Beirut, Lebanon, and would love to eventually do something similar in Amsterdam - the capital of dance, DJ's and gays. "That's my dream."