Dhoest, Alexander. “Digital (Dis)Connectivity in Fraught Contexts: The Case of Gay Refugees in Belgium:,” 2019.
- Category: Literature
- Source: Academic
- Subject: Discretion,Asylum/Refugee,Gay,Homophobia,Homosexuality,Law/Legistation,LGBTI,Sexual Orientation,Violence
- Place: East Africa,Sierra Leone
- Year: 2019
- File: 1367549419869348
After a theoretical exploration of the role of social media for forced migrants, this paper focuses on the specific challenges for LGBTQ refugees, both in general and in Belgium, where this case study is set. Over the past years, an increasing number of people have applied for and obtained asylum in Belgium based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. First, the relevant regulations and practices are discussed, based on desk research as well as interviews with six people involved with associations working on and/or for LGBTQ asylum seekers. Second, the personal experiences of refugees are discussed, based on nine in-depth interviews with gay-identifying male refugees. Throughout the text, the term 'refugee' will be used to refer to all kinds of forced migrants, but in the analysis of the interviews a further distinction will be made between 'asylum seekers', who are in the asylum procedure, 'recognized refugees', who have obtained asylum, and 'undocumented migrants', who haven't applied for nor obtained asylum. The aim, through all this, is to better understand the uses and limitations of social media for this particular social group, avoiding the dual trap of overly euphoric or dysphoric accounts.