Citation: 2021 RLLR 26
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: July 22, 2021
Panel: Gregory Israelstam
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Pablo A Irribarra Valdes
RPD Number: TC0-11961
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2022-00665
ATIP Pages: 000127-000130
 MEMBER: Welcome back, everybody. It is 2:34, and we are back on the record.
 CLAIMANT: Thank you, [inaudible].
 MEMBER: Sir, I am now going to read my decision and the reasons for my decision. Are you ready?
 CLAIMANT: Yes.
 MEMBER: Okay.
 CLAIMANT: Thank you.
 MEMBER: These are the reasons for the decision under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act concerning XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX.
 XXXX XXXX XXXX, the claimant, seeks protection pursuant to s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The claimant is a citizen of Jamaica.
 The allegations of his claim can be found in his Basis of Claim form and in his testimony. The claimant alleges a fear of persecution on the basis of membership in a particular social group. In particular, the claimant alleges a fear of persecution on the basis of his gender identity. The claimant alleges that as a transgender man, should he return to Jamaica, he would be subject to discrimination, harassment, and an increased risk of violence at the hands of society in general.
 At the outset of the hearing, I identified credibility as a primary matter for the hearing to focus on. In particular, an assessment of credibility was required to determine whether the claimant is, as he alleges, a transgender man, and whether he fears persecution as a result.
 With respect to identity, on the file at Exhibit 1 are certified copies of the claimant’s passports from Jamaica. Other identification documents can be found at Exhibit 1 and 4. Through these documents, and his testimony, the claimant has established his personal identity, and his citizenship of Jamaica.
 With respect to credibility, the claimant testified at the hearing. The claimant testified under oath as presumed to be telling the truth, unless there are valid reasons to disbelieve the testimony. In this case, I find no valid reason to reject the claimant’s testimony with regard to his gender identity and his fear of persecution in Jamaica. The claimant was straightforward and spontaneous in his testimony. His testimony contained no material inconsistencies or contradictions. The testimony was consistent with the narrative found in his Basis of Claim form and was supported by a considerable number of documents submitted at Exhibit 4. These documents included medical reports, letters of support from people who knew the claimant in Jamaica, press articles confirming that the claimant has been active in the LGBTQ community in Jamaica, and photographs of the claimant at LGBTQ events.
 Overall, the claimant provided credible and trustworthy testimony. The claimant testified that he was assigned a gender of female at birth. He discovered his gender identity when he was very young. He faced harassment and abuse at school and at home because he was perceived as having masculine mannerisms and he was attracted to women. The claimant testified that he did have a number of relationships with women at high school and during university. On a number of occasions, he had been threatened with violence or sexual assault to cure him. At one point in university, he narrowly escaped assault from a group of teenage boys who had been following him and his date. The claimant testified that he was also subject to discrimination and harassment at his workplace.
 The claimant testified that he began hormone replacement therapy as part of his transition in 2015. He informed his workplace, a technical company named XXXX (ph). Although his supervisor undertook to attempt to aid in the transition in the workplace, the claimant testified that he continued to face harassment and abuse from colleagues. The claimant included other instances of threats or harassment short of actual assault in his Basis of Claim narrative. He testified that he did not go to the police because the police were homophobic, and often allied with people who might attack him.
 The claimant testified that after he left XXXX, he discovered that somebody from that company had outed him as transgender without his consent or knowledge. In the claimant’s Basis of Claim narrative, he describes how this made it difficult for him to secure work.
 The claimant testified that he felt he had to leave Jamaica by 2020. He testified that his XXXX health was suffering because of the stress of having to conceal his identity, as well as the fear of violence. The claimant testified that he was aware of other transgender people who had been assaulted.
 In light of my findings with respect to the credibility of the claimant and the extensive supporting evidence, I find, on a balance of probabilities, the claimant is, as alleged, a transgender man. I further find that he has a fear of persecution on the basis of his gender identity in Jamaica.
 Having found the claimant to have a subjective fear of persecution, I turn to the question of whether this fear has an objective basis. Country condition reports in the Immigration and Refugee Board’s National Documentation Package for Jamaica, dated 16th of April, 2021, support the claimant’s allegation that he is at heightened risk of violence, harassment, and discrimination in Jamaica because of his gender identity. Homophobia remains prevalent throughout Jamaican society, and transgender persons in particular are at high risk of harassment and violence.
 I conclude that the claimant does have an objective basis for his fear of persecution. As such, the claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution.
 The claimant testifies that he does not believe that the police would be able to help him escape a heightened risk of violence. Item 6.2, 6.5, and 6.7 of the National Documentation Package for Jamaica supports this allegation. Jamaica remains a deeply homophobic society, and transgender individuals face a higher risk of discrimination in the workplace, the provision of services, as well as harassment and an increased likelihood of ill-treatment and violence. While steps have been taken by the Jamaican government to address these issues in the hopes that the LGBTQ community will feel safer reporting violence or abuse to the police, in practice, these steps have not been successful. The police continue to often turn a blind eye towards persecution and may even be complicit to such persecution.
 I conclude that there is compelling evidence that the state is unable or unwilling to protect the claimant against persecution. With respect to an internal flight alternative, given the pervasiveness of homophobia and anti-trans sentiments throughout Jamaica, I find there would be no reasonable internal flight alternative to the claimant in Jamaica.
 My conclusion is this. Based on the evidence before me, and the testimony of the claimant, I conclude that the claimant has established a serious possibility of persecution on the Convention ground of membership in a particular social group if he were to return to Jamaica. The claimant is therefore a Convention refugee pursuant to s. 96 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. His claim for protection is accepted.
 That concludes my reasons. Sir, do you have any questions?
 CLAIMANT: No, sir. Just a point — I think, in delivering your decision, you said that I started hormone replacement therapy in XXXX XXXX 2015. I actually started in XXXX XXXX 2016.
 MEMBER: Thank you. My apologies. I think I got that from the Basis of Claim form, so — all right. I appreciate you correcting me. Other than that, do you have any questions?
 CLAIMANT: No, sir, just — thank you.
 MEMBER: I would like to thank you for answering all my questions. I do appreciate that they were personal questions, and they may have brought back some difficult memories, so I would like to thank you for being honest and open with me today. I would like to thank your counsel, who provided an excellent evidentiary record that made it very easy for me to come to a positive decision.
 COUNSEL: Thank you.
 MEMBER: And, if there is nothing else, sir, I wish you all the success possible in your new home.
 CLAIMANT: Thank you, sir.
 COUNSEL: Thank you. Have a good week.
 MEMBER: The hearing is concluded. Have a good day, everybody.
 CLAIMANT: You too.
 COUNSEL: [inaudible].