Queering borders: Language, sexuality and migration
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
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To be granted status, refugee claimants have to testify at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). This liminal space is charged with both the promise of liberation and the threat of deportation. Adding to the challenge are the governmental measures that constrain the right to asylum. This paper suggests answers to the question: What language and other discursive features do LGBTIQ claimants have to use to be recognized as refugees? This ethnography is based on fieldwork conducted in Toronto and Vancouver. I will present two vignettes of claimants I accompanied to their hearings. Contrary to heterosexuals, queer asylum seekers have to prove their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity. Truth about their sexuality and persecution is evaluated through the lens of legal technologies, and stereotypes are still common. However, extralegal forms of communication also come into play. New avenues for justice are being fostered by grassroots organizations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): asylum; Canada; citizenship; credibility; evidence; gay; hearing; LGBTIQ; refugee; testimony
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