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Apr 7

Postponed: Queer Asylum in Germany: Between Queer Liberalisms and Colonial Sexualities

Digital Humanities Center (103 Milstein)

Event postponed until October 2020.

Mengia Tschalaer is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol. As a law and society scholar she focuses on the relationship between politics of knowledge production and human rights, sexualities, and religion. Her work is geared towards rendering visible those voices located at the margins that remain silenced – often very deliberately so – in conversations about justice and ideals about the truth. She is currently working on a EU funded project which examines the experiences of LGBTQI+ asylum seekers with Muslim background within Germany’s asylum system. She is the author of "Muslim Women's Quest for Justice: Gender, Law, and Activism in India" (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and of various articles and chapters on socio-legal resistance, gender, and Islam. 

Human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity are grounds for seeking asylum in Europe. However, lesbian, gay, trans, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) people belong to the least visible and most vulnerable group and often lack significant access to social and legal support. In her work with the Queer Asylum Project, law and society scholar Mengia Hong Tschalaer uses in-depth interviews with LGBTQI+ refugees and people seeking asylum, digitized asylum court cases available in the online archives of the Administrative Courts in Germany, and frontline newsreporting to examine the manner in which “legitimate victimhood” for gay, trans, bi, inter, and gender non-binary people seeking asylum is read through the prism of Western constructions of Muslim sexualities and masculinities. Her work further proposes concrete legislative initiatives that address the injustices inherent in existing EU policy. Taking several specific case studies as point of departure, the Queer Asylum Project illustrates the central role of Eurocentric sexual regimes in determining the parameters of the (il)legal.