Death zones, comfort zones: queering the refugee question

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Bruce-Jones, Eddie (2015)

Sexuality-based refugee claims constitute an expanding area of legal practice and scholarship. This expansion in the field of refugee law mirrors international efforts to address homophobia in various sites around the globe, and in legal terms, this has predominantly taken the form of rights-based protections, such as decriminalising same-sex sexual acts as a matter of civil and political rights. The strategies of addressing sex-, gender- and sexuality-based oppression in the context of free movement on one hand and constitutional protections on the other share a common set of tensions and dilemmas, and both risk re-inscribing fundamental aspects of the very violence that they each seek to address. This article asks what it might mean to ‘queer’ refugee law, particularly in the context of its dynamic relationship with the discourse of decriminalisation. The article takes forward the centrality of sexual politics within the moral economy of migration regulation and attempts to approach it with the methodological impulse and transformative potential that ‘queer’ suggests.
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