Manganini, ‘The Refugee Status Determination of Transgender Asylum-Seekers’, 2020

Subject Area

Gender Identity







Year Published



Irene Manganini, ‘The Refugee Status Determination of Transgender Asylum-Seekers: A Queer Critique’, Global Migration Research Paper N° 24, Global Migration Centre Geneva, 2020


This publication results from the master’s dissertation written by Irene Manganini under the supervision of Prof. Vincent Chetail (Master in international law, Graduate Institute). In 2019, it received the prestigious Award Ladislas Mysyrowicz for its high quality dissertation dedicated to the issue of refugees. This research deals with the topic of transgender asylum-seekers and specifically with their refugee status determination process. It aims at finding out if and in which way a queer critical framework could help explain the shortcomings and misunderstandings which often arise during said process. After analysing the main controversial legal and practical issues occurring during transgender asylum-seekers refugee status determination processes, it argues that a good insight into the reason why these issues arise can be found in the queer concept of hierarchies of power, and in the ways they underlie and shape the whole asylum system. Building on that, the research finally argues that these narratives cannot be subverted by simply modernising refugee law but that it is rather the whole conceptual foundations of the asylum system that need to change and that transgender asylum-seekers’ experiences could help in showing the way forward.

Keywords: migration, refugee status determination, transgender, queer theories, international asylum law