Queer Muslim migrants in Belgium: the transformation of sexual subjectivity through transnational migration
Wim Peumans (University of the Witwatersrand)
Paper short abstract:
Based on an ethnographic research project on transnationalism, same-sex sexualities and religion in Belgium, the paper looks at the multiple transformations the sexual subjectivities of queer Muslim migrants undergo throughout the process of transnational migration.
Paper long abstract:
The paper discusses an ethnographic research project on same-sex sexualities, transnationalism and religion in Belgium. The aim is twofold. Firstly, in line with a growing body of scholarship within mobility studies sexuality is considered as one of the primary axes that structure migration. This further 'queers' our understanding of migration, or in other words questions the heteronormativity of mobility studies. Secondly, the project goes beyond the propensity of queer studies to focus on white, male, middle class, secular citizens belonging to a particular nation-state. The paper looks at the multiple transformations the sexual subjectivities of queer Muslim migrants undergo throughout the process of transnational migration and the diverse ways these transformations are informed by neo-liberal state norms, discourses, ideologies and representations. Firstly, the author seeks to highlight the different modalities through which queer Muslim migrants negotiate silence and disclosure in the performance of sexuality in the asylum procedure. The argument is made that the difficulties asylum seekers encounter may be attributed to two issues: one the one hand differences in frameworks and moralities of gender, sexuality and subjecthood and on the other hand the intersectional dynamics between class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race on the other. Secondly, the author looks at queer migrants' involvement in queer spaces and more specifically queer activism and queer political strategies. He argues their strategies both reflect and undermine the hegemonic homonormative moral ideal, where coming out is seen as the pinnacle of queer subjectivity and agency.
Same-sex sexualities and ethnic minorities in Europe (Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality and the European Network for Queer Anthropology)