Call for abstracts to participate in a panel on Gender and Sexualities at the IASFM Conference 17:
Proposed Panel Title: Crossing Boundaries, crossing borders: forced migration and resettlement for queer refugees
Whither Refugees? Restrictionism, Crises and Precarity Writ Large
Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies,
University of Macedonia
Laboratory for the Study of Culture, Gender and Borders
24-27- July 2018
Theme 1. Crises, Precarity and Refugeeness
Panel Title: Crossing Boundaries, crossing borders: Forced migration and resettlement for queer refugees
A panel proposed to the 17th Conference of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), in Thessaloniki, Greece, July 24-27, 2018.
Panel Organizers: Sarilee Kahn (McGill University), Edward J. Alessi (Rutgers University)
Background and objectives:
Over the past 20 years, growing awareness of the global situation of LGBTI individuals has led some nations to extend asylum and refugee protections to individuals fleeing persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (United Nations High Commission for Refugees 2008). Emerging research on sexual and gender minority (SGM) forced migrants has demonstrated that they have experienced severe and pervasive abuse that begins in childhood and continues into adulthood (Alessi, Kahn, & Chatterji, 2016; Alessi, Kahn, & Van Der Horn, 2016). These abuse experiences have contributed to traumatic stress and other mental health problems, making it difficult for them to meet the demands of the asylum and resettlement process (Shidlo & Aloha, 2013). Furthermore, tensions arising from growing up in their country of origin as well as religious doctrine can impact their sense of of belonging in the host country (Kahn, 2015; Lee & Brotman, 2011).
Despite the growing interest in this particularly vulnerable group, there has been little opportunity among scholars, activists, practitioners, and directly impacted persons to consolidate strategies to address issues pertinent to queer forced migrants, including protracted timelines and the “designated country of origin” policies in Canada, the Dublin Case requirements in European Union countries, the so-called “travel ban” in the United States, and growing homophobia/transphobia, Islamophobia, and xenophobia across Europe and North America.
This panel proposes to create a space for cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue. We seek the voices of queer refugees themselves as well as practitioners, activists, and scholars who can present case studies and empirical research (quantitative and qualitative). We hope to attract those coming from an array of disciplines—law, sociology, anthropology, and psychology—to illuminate challenges and potential solutions for ensuring specialized protection and support for queer forced migrants throughout the migration and resettlement process.
Questions of interest include:
- What is the unique impact of current asylum-seeking processes across host countries (e.g. U.S., Canada, E.U., South Africa) on queer forced migrants?
- What are host societies learning about how to best support and protect queer forced migrants throughout their migration journey, asylum-seeking process, and longer-term resettlement?
- What strategies are stakeholders and queer refugees deploying to help transform heteronormative asylum and refugee policies and practices?
- How prominently do the voices of queer forced migrants themselves inform the discourse?
Please submit a short abstract of approximately 300 words to Sarilee Kahn at [log in to unmask] by August 15th, 2017.
Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., & Chatterji, S. (2016). 'The darkest times of my life': Recollections of child abuse among forced migrants persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Child Abuse & Neglect, 51, 93-105.
Alessi, E. J., Kahn, S., & Van Der Horn, R. (2016, October 7). A qualitative exploration of the premigration adult victimization experiences of sexual and gender minority refugees and asylees in the United States and Canada. The Journal of Sex Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1080/00224499.2016.1229738
Kahn, S. (2015). Experiences of faith for gender non-conforming Muslims in resettlement: Preliminary considerations for social work practitioners. British Journal of Social Work, 45, 2038–2055.
Lee, E. O. J., & Brotman, S. (2011). Identity, refugeeness, belonging: Experiences of sexual minority refugees in Canada. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 48(3), 241-274.
Shidlo, A., & Ahola, J. (2013). Mental health challenges of LGBT forced migrants. Forced Migration Review, 42, 9-11.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2008). UNHCR guidance note on refugee claims relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. Retrieved from http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/48abd5660.pdf
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