Asylum seeking trans woman faces deportation despite evidence of transphobic violence in her home country

Bo Hagen Clausen (TLounge) - Demonstration in Copenhagen

A case about a trans woman from Guatemala who was denied asylum in Denmark surfaced during the Copenhagen Pride celebrations in mid-August with an article in the Danish newspaper, Politiken. ILGA-Europe is questioning her denial of asylum, and is urging the Danish authorities to reconsider her case.

Fernanda Milan, a Guatemalan trans woman and activist, was in January 2012 denied her initial claim for asylum in Denmark submitted in 2009. On 8 August 2012 the Danish authorities issued a notification of deportation. ILGA-Europe was asked by Danish LGBT organisations to analyse her case. On 24 August 2012 ILGA-Europe sent a letter to the Danish Minister of Justice, Morten Bødskov, and to the Chair of the Refugee Appeals Board, B.O. Jespersen, urging the Danish authorities to reconsider Fernanda Milan’s case.

The Danish asylum authorities does not recognise gender identity as a reason of persecution, which ILGA-Europe is highly critical of. In the current case, several governmental and non-governmental organisations acknowledge the existence of high level of transphobic violence in Guatemala. It is therefore likely that a deportation of Fernanda Milan will put her in a very dangerous situation due to her gender identity as a trans woman.

Moreover, ILGA-Europe also stated that Denmark has failed its obligation to protect Fernanda Milan during the duration of the asylum procedure. She experienced degrading treatment and was victim of multiple rapes after she was forced to stay in the department of men at the asylum seeker centre Sandholm north of Copenhagen.

ILGA-Europe is still waiting for an answer from the Danish authorities.

Several Danish LGBT organisations have been mobilizing regarding this case with letters to the authorities and a well-attended demonstration in Copenhagen (image from demonstration). Another demonstration will take place in front of the Danish embassy in London on 10 September. Read more about the demonstration in London here.


Read the article about the Fernanda Milan's case in the Danish newspaper, Politiken (only in Danish)

Read more about the Danish initiatives on the website of the Danish organisation, T-Lounge

Read LGBT Denmark's reaction on the case, and how they work with asylum cases in Denmark in general (only in Danish)

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