Safeguarding borders, or safeguarding queers?
While the political field of immigration is getting increasingly stringent throughout Europe, rights for queer individuals are progressively strengthened in Western parts of the world.
These two parallel trends have made queer asylum a particularly interesting field of study – as one out of few defended and even liberalized areas within a more and more restrictive immigration regime. However, based on a common understanding that the asylum system by nature is open for exploitation, an existing consensus that there need to be some kind of differentiation between the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’ asylum seeker, is prevalent. In line with diffusion of norms and policies that protect sexual minorities throughout Europe, queer refugees cannot be ignored or discriminated against (to the same extent as before) – as homophobic attitudes are increasingly represented as alien in European courtrooms and frowned upon in societies. Nevertheless, queer refugee claimants still face great challenges in seeking asylum, often linked to the (in)credibility of their claim – which scholars argue have become the crux of the matter when immigration officers judge in LGBT asylum cases. How do Norwegian perceptions of the refugee claimant that seeks refuge because of fear of sexual and gender-based persecution look like? This paper explores, through a mixed method approach with qualitative, quantitative and experimental methods, the topic from two viewpoints – that of Norwegian citizens and Norwegian immigration authorities.
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