Sarsfield Collins, ‘Safe Spaces’, 2017
Louise Sarsfield Collins, ‘Safe Spaces: The Law and Everyday Experiences of LGBTQ Asylum Seekers’, NPPSH Reflections, 1, 66-77, 2017
Each year a few thousand people arrive in Ireland seeking our protection. The events that lead to asylum applications are likely harrowing. However, for many, the asylum process causes further difficulties, particularly for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) asylum seekers. This paper explores the legal geographies of LGBTQ asylum seekers in Ireland, interrogating the ways in which Irish law and policy seek to control the bodies of this particular cohort of asylum seekers. First, I lay out the global context for LGBTQ asylum seekers before exploring what is understood by legal geographies. The paper then briefly describes the asylum system in Ireland, in particular Direct Provision, before turning to the findings from ongoing research in Ireland. A number of themes are explored including the ways in which Direct Provision and the asylum system serve to keep LGBTQ asylum seekers in the closet. This imprisonment is contested by both asylum seekers and those working on their behalf, which has led to the creation of some precarious sites of resistance.