In 2011, a EU directive made prosecution based on sexual orientation and gender identity grounds for asylum. However, in practice, heternormative and homonormative immigration and asylum policies and practices combined with the ‘war on terror’ perpetuate the insecurity and marginalization of LGBTQI+ Muslim refugees and asylum seekers in Europe. Using Germany as a case study, this project will provide a new understanding of how rightfulness and rightlessness are produced through the hetero- and homonormative legal immigration frameworks and protectionist asylum and refugee policies and practices that increasingly target Muslims. 


The tension between European recognition of gay and lesbian refugees (not necessarily queer) and its increasing islamophobic migration practices and policies, remains largely neglected in migration, queer, and diaspora studies. Moreover, the particular experiences of LGBTQI Muslim asylum seekers and refugees are side-lined in current policy and grassroots approaches to asylum. This project will break new theoretical ground by taking an intersectional approach to queerness and Islam in asylum discourse and practice. It will contribute to strengthening advocacy and the effectiveness of the EU directive and improve public debate in a context of rising islamophobia where ‘gay’, 'queer', and ‘Islam’ are often represented as diametrically opposed. 


Combining high quality ethnographic work with multiple stakeholders and actors with close legal and discourse analysis, the study will answer the following questions: To what extent does the ‘success’ of LGBTQI Muslims asylum claims hinge on them presenting themselves within a Western homonormative framework? How do the experiences of Muslim LGBTQIs with Germany’s asylum system differ from one another, and, consequently, is there a single queer Muslim experience of asylum? What do the experiences of LGBTQI Muslims with the asylum system reveal about European values of ‘tolerance’ in refugee discourse and practice? How can we use the experiences of LGBTQI Muslim asylum seekers in Germany to develop a ground level approach to asylum law and policies and strengthen grassroots advocacy?