Debating the Devilish Delemma
A study on the influence of advocacy strategies in changin the IND work instruction for LGBT asylum seekers.
The asylum applications of LGBT asylum seekers put the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Office (IND) in a tough position. The IND has to verify the credibility of the sexual orientation or gender identity that these asylum seekers put forward as grounds for asylum. But how do you assess the credibility of asylum grounds which cannot be substantiated with objective evidence? In order to provide the IND officers some guidance on how to investigate and decide upon these asylum applications, a so-called work instruction is used. The guidelines expressed in this work instruction reveal how the IND (and thus the Dutch state) believes the credibility of sexual orientation and gender identity can be best assessed. This state governing of sexual orientation and gender identity has led many actors to step into this complex decision-making area. A broad range of actors started to advocate for a change in the work instruction, since it would contain western assumptions on the development of sexual orientation and gender identity. By analysing the advocacy of these actors, this research has shown how actors have strategically mobilised themselves to influence a change in the work instruction. This research has demonstrated that by using a set of advocacy strategies a multitude of actors was able to influence incremental policy changes on this highly complex policy issue.