A researcher says that LGBTQ people are leaving hostile countries in Asia for the more accepting lands of New Zealand.
Sharyn Davies is an associate professor at AUT University. There, she also studies gender and sexuality issues in Asia.
Thanks to those studies, Davies noticed a change happening in New Zealand’s population. The amount of LGBTQ people trying escape Asian countries is “sadly rising.”
Specifically, Davies has found that people from other countries made up under half of all same-sex couples in New Zealand in 2013. Then just four years later, 1785 same-sex couples from overseas have married in New Zealand.
That said, Davies doesn’t have the resources to count how many LGBTQ immigrants have come into the country through visas. And sadly, there is no available data on the subject beyond what Davies has found.
That said, what Davies can say is that New Zealand’s acceptance of LGBTQ people had led to many new immigrants.
"In New Zealand, we have anti-discrimination laws and allow same sex marriage, so yes it's a mecca. NZ is quite like paradise," Davies said.
As examples of this, the New Zealand Herald found and interviewed a few immigrants who came to escape more hostile countries.
First is an Indonesian gay men with the alias Jufrie. Jufrie came into New Zealand this past January after his partner was arrested because of their relationship.
While homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, the country has become incredibly hostile towards LGBTQ people, specifically gay men and trans people, in the last two or three years.
Jufrie shares that his partner was taken away during a night raid of their home by "religious security guards.” His partner was then charged and imprisoned under the Pornography Act as an excuse.
"It was about 2 or 3am, and they came and just rammed the door of the house down," he said.
"My partner held them out by placing a bookshelf at our room door and because of what he did, I managed to escape out of the toilet window."
"My dream is that one day my husband can also escape to New Zealand and we can legally get married and live happily ever after here," Jufrie said.
In addition, The Herald also interviewed a lesbian couple from China.
25-year-old Tracey Bo and Effie Liu, moved to New Zealand because they wanted to eventually marry, which China is nowhere near legalizing.
Bo, who’s currently in New Zealand on a work visa, came ot Auckland in 2012 has a student. She then met Liu, who’s in New Zealand on a student visa, in 2015 while on a Chinese lesbian app. Sadly, the two only found problems from there.
"In China, there is a stigma about being a lesbian and we face strong pressure from family and society," Bo said.
"We found it is impossible to settle there, and the only place we can be together is here in New Zealand."
"We hope to get a residence visa and stay here, and our dream is that one day our family in China can also accept us as who we are," Bo added.
These are just two stories to represent hundreds of people are showing up in New Zealand to escape countries in Asia.
h/t: The New Zealand Herald