I am from Iran. Gays are executed in my country, and I had no option but to flee my country, as there was a warrant out for my arrest.
I chose my first migration agent in Sydney because she was also Persian and I thought that she would understand my situation and help me apply for a refugee visa. However, she made me feel really uncomfortable and ashamed about being gay.
She barely even spoke to me and would avoid making appointments to see me. She made me go to my interview with the Department of Immigration on my own, and after the visa was refused I found out that she hadn’t even made any submissions on my behalf.
I friend then told me about HALC. HALC helped me with an appeal to the Refugee Review Tribunal. It was so different. The solicitor at HALC took a detailed statement from me about what would happen to me if I had to return to Iran, and made written submissions on my behalf to the Tribunal. I didn’t even have to go to the hearing, the Tribunal said I could have a visa based on the written evidence we submitted.
This is the first time in my life that I have felt free to be who I am. Simple things like being able to hold hands with my boyfriend is something completely new for me.
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