Lidstone, ‘Refugee Queerings’, 2006
Robert Lidstone, ‘Refugee Queerings: Sexuality, Identity and Place in Canadian Refugee Determination’, thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Spring 2006
Over the past decade, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada has granted asylum to several thousand refugee claimants on the basis of sexual orientation. To receive refugee status, claimants must demonstrate “membership in a particular social group” – homosexuals – and a future likelihood of persecution for this reason. Drawing from interviews, media and government texts, and observation of refugee determination hearings, I examine the geographical imaginations shaping asylum decision-making, and consider how identity and place are articulated and assessed in refugee determination proceedings. Often predicated upon essentialized, heteronormative and ethnocentric representations of sexuality and space/place, analyses of sexual orientation-based asylum cases must be queered in the interests of promoting a more just and humane refugee system. I contend that the scale of the body, as well as differences of gender, sexuality, race, nationality, and class, should be foregrounded in considering the security of sexual dissidents.