The Valorization of the LGBT Protection Category in the Refugee-Granting System
A burgeoning interest in lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) rights has been noted to raise among the ‘temples of global capitalism’ (Rao 2015) such as the World Bank, governments and supranational institutions such as the EU Parliament dealing with the allocation of monetary funding (Browne et al. 2015), as well as within the corporate world at a global scale. The LGBT acronym thus gains new meanings, as it is used and valorised by capital institutions and corporations. Importantly, the re-signification of the LGBT category has also occurred within the system of international protection and immigration policies at a time of strong immigration restrictions. In this article, we examine how neoliberalism reshapes the LGBT signifier as a valorized protection category by looking at the case of asylum for gender and sexual minorities within EU geopolitics. By analysing the French asylum system, we want to address the question of why and how refugee-granting processes erase or flatten locally-situated queer histories, experiences and social worlds. We argue that it is important to move away from an analysis aimed at reinforcing the ‘sexual democratic’ values of some countries versus what is cast as the ‘cultural homo/transphobia’ of others. Through a particular attention to the mapping of homophobia, the article will aim to unpack how queer asylum claimants are situated in a giuridico-legal interstice from which they cannot challenge a colonial structure of thought about the schematic geography of homo/transphobia.
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