Parallel discursive arenas and LGBT Asylum: enhancing the protection of LGBT+ people on the run outside of Europe


  • María Sierro



More than 70 countries in the world criminalize same-sex sexual activity or the “promotion” of such activity (ILGA, 2017, as cited in Vitikainen, 2020, p. 64). Beyond criminalization, LGBT+ people across the world are subject to stigma and other disadvantages and dangers (Vitikainen, 2020, p. 64) that might force them to flee and seek protection as “refugees” in a different country. However, discourses of “crisis” that are often used when addressing humanitarian emergencies, such as the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015, might conceal the diversity of displaced populations and the specific needs of different categories of refugees, including LGBT+ refugees.

This essay discusses the problems of the “crisis” vocabulary and the potential of the categorization of “LGBT+ refugees” to recognize the specifics of their plight and develop humanitarian responses better adapted to their needs. Furthermore, it presents the example of a workshop which can be considered as a “parallel discursive arena” where students and professionals working with refugees could reflect on the identities, interests, and needs of LGBT+ refugees and work towards rights-based humanitarian strategies to tackle the challenges faced by LGBT+ people on the run outside of Europe.