Not Queer Enough? The imposition of a western cultural understanding of ‘queer identity’ on the credibility of asylum seekers’ LGBTQ status in the Netherlands
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Asylum seekers persecuted for their sexual orientation are expected to use only their asylum narrative to prove persecution faced and their legitimate LGBTQ status. After a comprehensive review of the literature on factors affecting LGBTQ asylum credibility, this research looked specifically at the situation in the Netherlands. Synthesizing queer literature on the cultural understanding of ‘queer identity’ in the western context, this thesis has identified the logic used by the ‘Immigratie en Naturalisatie Dienst’ [IND] to decide which narratives are legitimate, to see how the cultural understanding of sexuality plays out in asylum decisions and the appeals court. Through analysis of three court cases, it was concluded that the narrative expected by the IND is of a struggle with same-sex attraction, self-realisation proceduralised through moment(s) of realisation and a coming out that leads into a stable, self-actualized identity, able to be discussed in affective rather than sexual terms. This relates to queer scholars’ writings on queer identity formation and the dominant discourse in the Netherlands that presents sexual identity as fixed, self-actualized and publicly demonstrated. This thesis attempts to undermine the assumption that all legitimate LGBTQ asylum seekers are able to present this specific understanding of queer identity in their asylum narrative.