Dhoest, Alexander. “Learning to Be Gay: LGBTQ Forced Migrant Identities and Narratives in Belgium.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45, No. 7 (May 19, 2019): 1075–89.

  • Category: Literature
  • Source: Academic
  • Subject: Asylum/Refugee,Documentation status,Gay,LGBTI,Sexual Orientation
  • Place: Burundi,Morocco,Nigeria,Sierra Leone
  • Year: 2019
  • File: 1369183X.2017.1420466
Within the wider population of forced migrants, LGBTQs face particular challenges. While sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) are recognised grounds for asylum, academic and civil society observers are critical of the imposition of Western identity labels and liberation narratives on asylum seekers. This paper explores the situation in Belgium, where an increasing number of people obtain asylum based on SOGI claims. First, the relevant regulations and practices are discussed, based on desk research as well as interviews with advocates. Second, the personal experiences of forced migrants are discussed, based on in-depth interviews with gay-identifying men. The advocates confirm the prominence of (Western) conceptions and narratives of sexual identity in the procedure. While the forced migrants seem to reinforce this view, by expressing Western views on sexuality in the research interview, this paper explores the degree to which this can be attributed to the asylum procedure.