Challenging queer migration narratives. A case study of sexual orientation and gender identity rights in the Belgian asylum procedure.

01 November 2020 → 30 November 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Queer studies
  • Social sciences
    • Administrative law
    • Human rights law
    • Sociology of law
    • Citizenship, immigration and political inequality not elsewhere classified
sexual orientation and gender identity narrative analysis Belgian asylum procedure
Project description

Forced migration continues to captivate social discourses, which often represent refugees as predominantly male, heterosexual, cisgender (and homophobic/transphobic) individuals. However, many people flee their home due to the persecution they fear on the ground of their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). Once arrived in Europe, in a country where SOGI rights are recognised as human rights and as such expanded the scope of refugee law, the struggles of SOGI refugees continue. To receive international protection, they have to construct a narrative which proofs the credibility of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and the well-foundedness of their fear of persecution – in the eye of the beholder. The asylum procedure leaves SOGI refugees and state actors to negotiate with(in) the legal framework to come to the same understanding of SOGI rights, despite different cultural contexts and the dominance of Western frameworks. Building on the critical insights of queer and post-colonial scholars, the research aims to gain insight into the complexity of the asylum procedure and its intertwinement with essentialised narratives of queer(ness and) migration through a case study of SOGI applications in the Belgian asylum procedure. Interviews, participant observations and co-operations as well as a critical discourse analysis will reveal the narratives inherent in the construction of SOGI rights by SOGI refugees and in the assessment of those rights by state actors.