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Liberation Nation? Queer Refugees, Homonationalism and the Canadian Necropolitical State

Nação de libertação? Refugiados queer, homonacionalismo e o Estado necropolítco canadense


This paper presents an overview of the Canadian state’s refugee determination processes for persons lodging asylum claims in Canada on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity expression (SOGIE). Canada has an international reputation for being a welcoming nation to SOGIE (as well as other categories of) refugees, a reputation that is much promoted by the Canadian government and mainstream media. However, in my ethnographic research with SOGIE refugee claimants navigating the Canadian refugee determination process, I reveal that claimants must quickly learn how to construct an ‘authentically’ gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender narrative that meets refugee adjudicators’ standards of credibility, or risk being identified as a ‘fake’ refugee, and thus face incarceration and/or deportation. I argue that sexuality now forms a crucial component of the nation-state’s gate-keeping apparatus, with uneven effects for queer migrants.

refugees; migration; queer; sexuality; Canada

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