Citation: 2021 RLLR 70
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: February 1, 2021
Panel: Isis Van Loon
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Subodh Singh S Bharati
RPD Number: VC0-03617
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01594
ATIP Pages: N/A
 MEMBER: These are the reasons for the decision in the claim of XXXX XXXX XXXX, who claims to be a citizen of Barbados and is claiming refugee protection pursuant to Sections 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
 In assessing this case, I’ve considered the Chairperson’s Guidelines on Proceedings Before the IRB Involving Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression to ensure that appropriate accommodations were made in questioning and in the overall hearing process and in substantively assessing this claim.
 I considered as well XXXX your age, your level of education, and your life experience. I note that you have a high school education, you left Barbados at age 17 and you’ve lived for almost a year in a shelter before being able to find a stable residence.
 Your allegations are set out in your Basis of Claim form and in your testimony. The following is a very brief summary. You fear persecution in Barbados as a lesbian who presents in a masculine manner.
 I find that you are a Convention refugee as you’ve established a well-founded fear of persecution based on a Convention ground.
 I find that your identity as a national of Barbados is established by your testimony and the supporting documentation on file which includes a copy of your birth certificate and a Barbados national identity card in exhibit 4. This identity card is a photo ID card. As well you have provided a number of Facebook posts that date back to 2017 and 2018 in the name of XXXX XXXX which show photos of yourself. I find on a balance of probabilities that your identity is established.
 The presumption before me is that your testimony is true. However this can be rebutted in appropriate circumstances if there are inconsistencies, contradictions, omissions or undetailed testimony. You provided documents to support your claim in Exhibit 4. We reviewed numerous photos of you with two different former girlfriends. You were able to describe in detail what the occasion was, where the photos were taken, and who was in the photos. You have the Facebook profile pictures dated and I note that those use the pronoun his as in XXXX XXXX updated his profile picture going back to 2017. As you’ve described, you are seen in these photographs with what would traditionally be considered male clothing as well as more traditionally male hairstyle as you have alleged. I found you overall that you were straightforward and forthcoming, you were able to provide details when I asked you about different things that you had told me about. I didn’t see any relevant inconsistencies in your testimony or contradictions with the other evidence before me. I found you overall to be credible and therefore I believe what you’ve alleged in support of your claim.
 Your narrative and testimony corresponds to the ample objective evidence about conditions in Barbados pertaining to members of the LGBTQ community and accordingly I really have no reason to doubt the central elements underpinning your claim for protection. So I accept that you are lesbian who presents in a traditional male manner and wears traditional male clothing and that you’ve experienced bullying, harassment, and threats of violence as a result of this.
 I find the persecution you face has a Nexus to one of the five Convention grounds that of your membership in a particular social group as a member of the LGBTQ community as a lesbian who presents as male and therefore I’ve assessed your claim under Section 96.
 In order to be considered a Convention refugee, you must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution, including both a subjective and an objective basis for that fear. Based on your testimony, your supporting documents and the country condition documents, I find that you have a well-founded fear of persecution for the following reasons.
 You came out to your parents at 17 years of age with the support of a friend who is also LGBTQ. Your family with the exception of one brother became abusive. You experienced homophobia on a daily basis, in the media, and both in public and at home where you were harassed, bullied, and threatened with violence. You were warned by police that if you didn’t start to dress like a girl you would be sent to a reformatory. You witnessed an openly gay man that you knew being assaulted by a crowd because of his sexuality. You with your best friend who was also LGBTQ began to look for alternatives and you talked to a bisexual friend who’d moved to Canada. The two of you were able to arrange a vacation in Canada with the help of your friend’s mother. You had no intention of returning to Barbados and instead planned to claim asylum in Canada. The friend who came with you returned to Barbados where he later became suicidal and addicted to drugs. You included a newspaper article about this friend, with the headline ‘Mom fears son will kill himself’ which discusses his addiction after he pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis.
 You stated that you have experienced bullying and harassment for much of your life due to the way that you present yourself. So I’ve accepted that you are a lesbian who presents as male. I note that you are young, you were a minor when you left Barbados, you’ve had challenges in establishing yourself in Canada and you spoke of your passport being lost or stolen. It took you some time to find resources needed to initiate your refugee claim which you did on June 27th of 2019. And as I’ve said previously, given the country condition documents as well as your credible testimony I accept that you subjectively fear persecution in Barbados.
 You described for me what it was like for you growing up in Barbados and what would happen to you if you return to your home country. You said life would be depressing whereas in Canada you’re able to freely be yourself, you can get a job and you can focus more on being you. That you didn’t have to worry about what people were thinking about you. You said in Barbados that there are a lot of negative things that make you a dark person, is that you feel like you don’t wanna be yourself anymore because people hate you and they come at you.
 I asked you about how you identified yourself and you said that you identified as a guy, but it was fine to refer to you as she or he because it doesn’t matter when you know somebody is not coming at you in a disrespectful way. However, for people who are being disrespectful this is a problem for you. And I asked why you identified as a lesbian, you said simply because I like girls, that is how I feel.
 Your allegations of the treatment that LGBTQ people in Barbados receive is consistent with country documents. The country documents in the NDP indicate that same-sex activity is against the law although the law is rarely enforced. Further the documentary evidence points to strong societal discrimination against sexual minorities, including persons in the LGBTQ+ community who are sometimes victims of violence.
 The United States country report on human rights practices for Barbados in 2019 at Item 2.1 of the NDP for Barbados indicates that, there are significant human rights issues in Barbados including criminalization of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Civil society groups have reported that LGBTI persons faced discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and health care. The activist stated that while many individuals were open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, police disapproval and societal discrimination made LGBTI persons more vulnerable to threats, crime, and destruction of property. LGBTI women were particularly vulnerable to discrimination and unequal protection under the law. In one case a school prevented a transgender student from dressing as a woman. And I note that here you yourself told me that people tried to prevent you from dressing as a man.
 An IRB Response to Information Request at NDP 6.1 reported homosexual acts are illegal. There’s a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and it’s illegal for both male and female same sex couples according to a country reports quoted in this report; discrimination against LGBT individuals was one of the most serious human rights problems in Barbados. Persons in the LGBTQ community in Barbados face stigma and discrimination often manifested in forms of property damage, ostracism, verbal abuse from strangers and family alike, unjustified denial of employment, denial of housing, rejection and abandonment by family and friends and society at large. Many LGBT couples are forced to hide their relationship to avoid mistreatment. There were reported incidents arson, rape of both males and females, attempted suicide, homelessness, verbal abuse, depression and assault. I’m satisfied that you’ve established that the harm you experienced and fears if you were to return to Barbados amounts to a serious harm that is a denial of a core human right and that you face a serious possibility of experiencing that harm if you were to return to Barbados given your profile as a lesbian who presents as male.
 I find the presumption of state protection is rebutted with clear and convincing evidence as follows. At NDP 6.1 police in Barbados have been denounced as discriminatory and their treatment of victims who are LGBT and most members of the LGBT community do not report matters to the police out of fear of negative repercussions or facing ridicule. LGBT individuals have faced disapprobation by police officers and some police are well trained, however, others can be very dismissive of gay men and trans women and justice is very rarely served in these case and many charges are dropped due to many years of waiting or of missing reports. Based on the objective evidence I find that adequate state protection would not reasonably be forthcoming to you in Barbados.
Internal Flight Alternative
 Now an internal flight alternative exists whether it would be some place safe that you could relocate in your home country. However, Barbados is a very small island, the States in control of the island. I’m satisfied that there’s no viable internal flight alternative for you in Barbados given the law criminalizing consensual same-sex activity exists throughout the country. And as well that homophobia permeates the society.
 Based on all the evidence before me, I find you’d face a serious possibility of persecution if you were to return to Barbados and I therefore conclude that you are a Convention refugee; accordingly I am accepting your claim.
———- HEARING CONCLUDED ———-