Sweden Is Deporting A Gay Liberian Soccer Player Back To The Homophobic Country

Discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ community still run rampant in the United States, but the case of the gay Swedish soccer player about to be deported and sent back to his native country is scary as hell. Andrew Nagbe is openly gay and was apprehended at a Pride event with his boyfriend because his legal papers weren’t in order. Migration officials say being openly gay just isn’t enough to stop his deportation back to a country that has one of the worst track records for LGBTQ rights in the world.

In Liberia, Nage would be scared for his life and immediately imprisoned because of his sexual orientation. He told Dagens Nyheter,  a Swedish news outlet, “In prison I’ll be beaten and raped every day until I am released and leave the country again. Everyone I know in Liberia knows I am gay now, so they won’t hold back.” However, Swedish migration officials say there is no evidence that violence is sanctioned by state and that Nagbe’s claim isn’t credible.

Michael Persson, head of the department of administrative processing at the Swedish Migration Board, told Dagens Nyheter, “But there is no evidence that there are abuses that are sanctioned by the state. We always do individual tests based on the asylum application as the foundation, and it is up to the applicant to come up with credible evidence.”

Nagbe moved to Sweden to play with Umeå FC, which is a lower tier team. He’s been earning a living by playing with various teams ever since and it’s not like he’s been hiding and sneaking around.

What makes the Swedish Migration Board’s conclusion even worse is that the country is so progressive when it comes to LGBTQ rights and there are even three other openly gay soccer players in the country.  So even though violence against openly gay human beings isn’t inked into the constitution of Liberia, Swedish officials should still be able to recognize that Nagbe could face real danger. Instead, he has to produce evidence that he is gay and that his fears are legit. It’s crazy. Unfortunately, it’s not crazy to wonder what his fate would be in an immigration detention center if Nagbe weren’t black.

Hey, Sweden — you can’t be considered “gay friendly” or progressive if you’re asking a human being to “prove” they are actually gay. Being an advocate means taking the experience of someone you don’t know anything about and trusting it because it’s their experience, not yours. Taking a second pass at Nagbe’s immigration papers would be a solid sign that the country really does believe in LGBTQ equality and that black lives matter. Sending a gay man back to Liberia makes Sweden complicit in whatever happens to hm.