(DES)HACIENDO FRONTERAS Experiences of Latin American LGBTI* asylum seekers in Spain during the process of credibility assessment
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Inscribed in queer migration scholarship, this research aims to explore the experiences of Latin Americans seeking asylum in Spain on the grounds of gender identity and/or sexual orientation. The analysis focuses on procedures of ‘credibility assessment’ implemented by Spanish institutions, i.e. the obligation to prove the veracity of ‘well-founded fear’ (Geneva Covention, art. 1A) of gender- and sexuality-related persecutions. By investigating how ‘credibility’ is constructed and evaluated throughout the asylum process, this project presents a twofold scope: (1) interrogating the role of asylum in the (re)production of hegemonic discourses that might justify and/or foster the rejection of Latin LGBTI* populations; (2) exploring the multiple ways queer latinxs deal with and respond to the bordering of ‘credibility’. To do so, I will configure an interdisciplinary approach by combining a discourse analysis of the sentences delivered by Spanish national courts, and in-depth interviews with eight LGBT asylum seekers based in Madrid. Profoundly informed by feminist, queer, and decolonial theories, this project aspires to articulate a critical set of methodological practices and thinking technologies that problematize the embedding of international protection with asymmetries of race, class, gender, and sexuality. I will specifically look at how asylum adjudications reiterate dominant constructions of ‘queerness’ and 'latinidad' so as to interrogate the cis-heteronormative and racialized borders that delimit the domain of citizenship. This gesture is meant to question the filtering logic of asylum that categorise migrant subjectivities into ‘genuine refugees’ and ‘bogus economic migrants’. After unveiling the functioning of disciplinary frontiers, I will conclude by interrogating the strategies articulated by my respondents in order to be granted refuge and achieve their quests for safety and freedom. By looking at their struggles to exist across and beyond borders, I will contend that my informants (un)do and re-signify ‘queerness’ and 'latinidad' towards the non-normative imaginaries opened by ‘queer latinidad’.