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Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm

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Is it possible to question asylum seekers who assert they are gay or bisexual in a sensible and sensitive way? The DSSH model (‘Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm’) is a model developed by Chelvan of …

Is it possible to question asylum seekers who assert they are gay or bisexual in a sensible and sensitive way? The DSSH model (‘Difference, Stigma, Shame and Harm’) is a model developed by Chelvan of No 5 Chambers to enable the asylum applicant an ability to address their individual narrative by asking specific ‘trigger questions’, to enable further investigation.


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  • 1. There is no template questionnaire: No list of questions……… NOT LIVING A HETEROSEXUAL NARRATIVE 1
  • 2. DIFFERENCE STIGMA SHAME HARM
  • 3. DIFFERENCE 3  Recognition that not like other ‘boys/girls’ with respect to personal sex gender role development  Gradual recognition of attraction to members of same- sex/opposite sex  Gradual recognition of gender difference in gender identity claims/intersex claims  May have commencement of same-sex conduct  Recognition that this ‘difference’ sets LGBTIs apart from straight people  Recognition and association with other LGBTIs – the other - group differentiated identification  Not living a ‘heterosexual’ narrative.
  • 4. STIGMA 4  Recognition that close family members/friends disapprove of conduct/identity  Recognition that the ‘majority’ does not accept/disapproves of the conduct/identity of the LGBTI individual  Recognition of state/cultural/religious mores/laws which are directed towards LGBTIs.
  • 5. SHAME 5  Impact of STIGMA  Feelings associated with isolation  Impact of being the ‘other’ rather than the ‘same’
  • 6. HARM 6  State harm – criminalisation  Fear of arrest/detention/torture  Non-state agent harm - mob violence  Family – honour killing
  • 7. HARM 6  State harm – criminalisation  Fear of arrest/detention/torture  Non-state agent harm - mob violence  Family – honour killing