Martin, Heidi. 2012. ‘Recollections and Representations; the Negotiation of Gendered Identities and “Safe Spaces” in the Lives of LGBTI Refugees in Cape Town, South Africa’. a Dissertation Submitted in Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Social Science in Gender Studies, Cape Town: African Gender Institute (AGI) University of Cape Town (UCT).

  • Category: Literature
  • Source: Academic
  • Subject: Gender non-conforming,Xenophobia,Asylum/Refugee,Discrimination,Gender Identity,Homophobia,Lesbian,Marginalisation,Religion,Sex work,Sexual Orientation,Transgender
  • Place: Congo, Democratic Republic of the,Rwanda,South Africa,Uganda,Zimbabwe
  • Year: 2012
  • File: thesis_hsf_2012_martin_h.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Political and State sponsored homophobia across Africa has been on the increase in the last decade (Ottosson 2010:7). Thirty-eight countries within Africa still criminalize homosexuality and as a result LGBTI refugees represent a growing number of the refugee population across Africa. South Africa is the only African country, which protects the rights of sexual minorities and grants asylum based on sexual orientation. With the lack of proper documentation by immigration offices, humanitarian organizations and legal and political institutions within South Africa, it is clear that the needs for LGBTI refugees are often overlooked as a particular “grouping”. In this dissertation, I offer theoretical arguments around sexual rights discourse, homophobia on the African continent and the lived experiences of refugees in Cape Town. I explore the different cultural/discursive, regulatory/institutional and racial/class norms that inform and compel the sexual refugees in this study to conform --or not -- to gendered sexual binaries which are socially constructed and produced. I argue that these performances of sexuality are constantly negotiated, justified, and re-normalized within a context of a hegemonic heteronormative spaces of what it means to be male/female, masculine/feminine, heterosexual/homosexual, thus shaping the identities and lived experiences of their sexual refugee-hood in Cape Town. I explore the phenomenon of sexual migration to South Africa and question whether the lives of sexual refugees really are better at the end of the “rainbow”