Research Seminar in Sociology of Law: Queer asylum in Europe
The Sociology of Law Department arranges a series of research seminars inviting local and international social scientists to present state-of-the-art research within various areas of law and society.
Queer asylum in Europe: Looking for the “true” LGBTIQ+ identity
To be granted asylum, LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers need to “prove” the “authenticity” of their non-conforming sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or sex characteristics. Previous research in the UK, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Greece shows that authorities’ focus on credibility assessment has moved from sexual practices to a conceptualization of queer as a fixed, narrowly defined sexual and gender identity realized early in childhood. To be recognized as “real” queer refugees, applicants are expected to have suffered in their countries of origin and have passed through a difficult and painful emotional process of self-realization and acceptance of their gender and sexuality. As previous research in different European asylum systems points out, these stereotypical expectations do not take into account the diversity and the complexity of LGBTIQ+ applicants’ lived experiences and disproportionally disqualify gendered, classed and racialized subjects who do not consume the gay culture as produced in the Global North. This seminar brings together five researchers and practitioners in the field of queer asylum discussing similarities in credibility assessment in five different European asylum systems.
Aino Gröndahl, asylum lawyer, RFSL
Aino Gröndahl is an asylum lawyer at RFSL specialising in SOGIESC asylum cases and the author of “Rejection motivations in SOGIESC asylum cases” (Avslagsmotiveringar i hbtqi-asylärenden), a report which examines over 2000 decisions and court rulings between 2012 and 2020.
Andrea Vige Grønningsæter, PhD candidate, University of Bergen
Andrea Grønningsæter is a PhD candidate at the University of Bergen in Norway. She has previously researched the practice of the Norwegian immigration authorities’ practices in sexuality-based asylum cases.
Sabine Jansen, researcher in asylum law, COC Netherlands
Sabine Jansen is a researcher in asylum law at COC Netherlands, a Dutch organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people. She was the initiator of the 2011 Fleeing Homophobia report (COC Netherlands/ VU University Amsterdam). She is also the author of the report “Pride or Shame?” which was published in 2018, focusing on credibility assessment in LGBTIQ+ asylum claims in the Netherlands. Last summer she published a follow-up report on “Pride or Shame”.
Sonia Lenegan, Legal and Policy director, Rainbow Migration
Sonia Lenegan is the Legal and Policy Director at Rainbow Migration, an organisation supporting LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum in the UK. She is also a qualified solicitor with over a decade’s experience working on asylum cases, including those based on SOGIESC.
Sophia Zisakou, asylum lawyer, PhD candidate Lund University
Sophia Zisakou is an asylum lawyer with a specialiation in SOGIESC asylum claims in Greece and a PhD candidate at Lund University. Her research is focused on LGBTIQ+ asylum claims in Greece.