Anthropology professor tackles the challenges faced by LGBTQ asylum seekers

On Jan 27, 2016 York University reported: In his new book, Murray, from the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, examines the ways in which sexuality intersects with the experience of being a refugee claimant.

Real Queer is an ethnographic exploration of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) refugee claimants’ experiences of navigating the complex discourses, protocols, practices and personnel of Canada’s refugee determination system,” said Murray.

In the early to mid-2000s, Murray met a number of SOGI refugees through his volunteer work. It was their stories that motivated him to write this book.

“What struck me was how their narratives of coming to Canada revealed not only the huge challenges of trying to cross multiple borders, but the often equally daunting challenge of learning about and navigating the Canadian refugee application process and Canadian society,” said Murray.

Cover of Real QueerHis book makes these narratives accessible to audiences interested in sexuality and migration research, including university students and specialists.

“Refugees are currently a ‘hot topic’ in the media, but there is little discussion about the process of becoming a refugee, or how different national and transnational bureaucracies create, maintain and alter the category of the refugee,” he said. “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity refugees are a relatively new category of refugee and reveal some of the ways in which ‘the refugee apparatus’ is continuously changing and adapting, creating new categories of inclusion and exclusion.”

The book highlights and analyzes assumptions and decisions made by the Canadian bureaucracy in relation to the sexual orientation and gender identity of refugee claimants. Murray’s interviews with Refugee Board Members and staff reveals how normative Western models of sexual identity influence the determination of who is a “real” SOGI refugee and who is not.

Find more at YFile » Anthropology professor tackles the challenges faced by LGBTQ asylum seekers.

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