UCL European Institute


Queer migration, diaspora and asylum in Europe conference

09 December 2017, 9:00 am–5:30 pm

LGBTQ Migration to Europe

Event Information

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A one-day conference organised by the European Institute's LGBTQ Migration and Asylum project.
Saturday 9 December, 9am-5:30pm


Saturday 9 December 2017

Register here


Rooms 431/433
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton Street
London, WC1H 0BW


As part of the LGBTQ Migration and Asylum project, led by Dr Richard Mole, the European Institute will host the Queer Migration conference at UCL.

Until recently, the academic study of migration did not explicitly deal with sexual difference, implicitly assuming the typical migrant to be heterosexual. These assumptions have been challenged by scholars of queer migration and asylum, who have produced a small but growing literature on the migration experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and queer (LGBTQ) subjects. Indeed,  the very idea of 'queer' was to a significant extent brought about by migration in that the mass movement of people to the West from various non-Western cultures brought into sharp relief the numerous 'sexual identity categories and practices that [did] not depend on Western conceptions of selfhood and community', thereby producing a range of queer identities and subjectivities (Manalansan, 2006).

In geographical terms, most work on queer migration, diaspora and asylum has focused primarily on the United States, with some attention also paid to Asian and Latin American societies as sending countries. Far less research has been conducted on migration and asylum by LGBTQ individuals to or in Europe. This is surprising given the disparities in attitudes towards and the degree of legal protection for LGBTQ people across Europe and thus the extent to which differences in said attitudes and rights could potentially act as push or pull factors in sending and receiving states, respectively, or as grounds for claiming asylum. 

Funded by the Jean Monnet Programme at the UCL European Institute, the aim of this one-day conference is thus to engage with these issues and seek to capture the specificities of LGBTQ migrants and asylum-seekers in Europe, identifying specific challenges facing - or potential benefits enjoyed by - queer migrants. We encourage submissions focusing on any aspect of queer migration, diaspora and asylum, including but not limited to the following range of topics:

  • theoretical analyses of the relationship between migration and sexuality
  • queer rural-to-urban domestic migration
  • the (re)construction of sexual identities following migration
  • the emergence and lived experience of queer diasporas
  • queer migrants and transnationalism
  • long-distance queer activism
  • queer asylum-seekers and refugees.


09.00-09.30 Welcome with coffee and croissants

09.30-11.00 Session I: Queering migration and diaspora

  • Francesca Stella (University of Glasgow): Rethinking queer migration at the intersection of migration and sexualities studies
  • Richard Mole (UCL): Understanding queer diaspora: the case of Russians, Poles and Brazilians in Berlin
  • Róisín Ryan-Flood (University of Essex): Staying connected: lesbian and gay narratives of family

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-13.00 Session II: Transnational queer lives

  • Łukasz Szulc (London School of Economics): From East to West and back to East: transnational homosexual activism during the Cold War
  • Dany Carnassale (University of Padua): Transnational construction of queerness of Senegalese migrants
  • Phillip M. Ayoub (Drexel University): Queer migration and rooted cosmopolitans: facilitating long-distance LGBT activism

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Session III: Queer asylum: socio-legal perspectives

  • Nuno Ferreira (University of Sussex): EU queer asylum policy: In search of a fairer system
  • Moira Dustin and Nina Held (University of Sussex): Square pegs in round holes? Exploring the misfit between the Refugee Convention and LGBTQI claims in Germany and the UK
  • Christian Klesse (Manchester Metropolitan University): Biopolitics, asylum case law and the epistemic contract of bisexual erasure

    15.30-16.00 Tea and coffee

    16.00-17.30 Session IV: Queer asylum: socio-political perspectives

    • Keith E. McNeal (University of Houston) and Sarah French Brennan (Columbia University): Between homonationalism and Islamophobia: comparing queer asylum-seeking to the Netherlands from the Caribbean versus the Muslim world
    • Sebastiano Cesaro (University of Paris 8): The politics of support towards LGBTQ asylum seekers in France
    • Calogero Giametta (Aix-Marseille Université): New Asylum Protection Categories and Elusive Filtering Devices: The Case of Queer Asylum in France and Britain

    The conference will be followed by a drinks reception and the screening of 'Samira', an ethnographic account of the life history of an Algerian migrant man selling sex as a travesti at night in Marseille

    Download a PDF the conference programme here.

    This is second in a series of events held as part of the LGBTQ Migration and Asylum project. See the programme of the previous workshop, held in May 2017.

    Register for this event here.