Time as queer capital, or: LGBTIQ+ refugees ‘coming out’ of the asylum system


  • Rieke Schröder Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg University


LGBTIQ , temporalities


In order to be granted asylum, LGBTIQ+ refugees have to prove their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression (SOGIE) to the refugee regime. In this process, LGBTIQ+ refugees are oftentimes presented as ‘stuck’, having to perform their SOGIE in a fixed way in order to secure and maintain protection. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with LGBTIQ+ refugees and ethnographic research in and around Copenhagen, this presentation seeks to add nuances to this narrative. In exploring the complex and nuanced experiences of LGBTIQ+ refugees in the context of the asylum process and ‘integration’, LGBTIQ+ refugees do not appear to be passive. Far from being stuck, LGBTIQ+ refugees are actively navigating through spatialised temporalities during and after their asylum process. While proving their ‘queer identity’, LGBTIQ+ refugees simultaneously learn to be (or perform as) credible queer subject – through the acquisition of queer capital. This presentation explores how LGBTIQ+ refugees queer temporality in multiple ways: First, I analyse how the so-called Danish ‘paradigm shift’ is producing uncertain temporalities for LGBTIQ+ refugees. Second, I analyse how LGBTIQ+ refugees are becoming and remaining queer after having been granted asylum. Finally, I explore how LGBTIQ+ refugees are (un)able to ‘come out’ of the asylum system. By claiming belonging to the Danish nation-state, they seek a change in the asylum system and demand permanent residence to express their SOGIE fluently. LGBTIQ+ refugees are thus not stuck, but strategically navigating the past, present and future to become credible queer subjects in Denmark.