Episode 8: Belonging, Community and Solidarity: Queer Experiences of Migration

In this episode, Ali Ali talks to us about his research on the themes of belonging, community and solidarity in the lives of exiles and migrants who identify as queer or sexually non-normative. Critiquing dominant narratives of Europe as a place of security, freedom and justice, Ali explains what protracted processing periods and legal limbos, complicated state bureaucracies, and societal assumptions about the ‘authenticity’ or ‘deservingness’ of queer asylum claims do to people’s senses of safety, community, and self. He also shows us how intersections between the experiences of sexually non-normative migrants and other migrant experiences can shed light on how we understand national and regional identities, and the power politics that emphasise or hide certain parts of our selves.

You can also listen to the episode on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, and Radio Public.

An accessible transcript of the entire interview can be found here.

References in the episode

Deniz Akin, “Queer asylum seekers: translating sexuality in Norway.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43 (3) (2017): 458-474, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2016.1243050 

Judith Butler, “Violence, Mourning, Politics” Studies in Gender and Sexuality 4 (1) (2003): 9-37, DOI: 10.1080/15240650409349213 

Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (New York: Autonomedia, 2004)

Paul Gilroy, After Empire: Melancholia or Convivial Culture (Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2004)

Mert Koçak, “Who is “Queerer” and Deserves Resettlement?: Queer Asylum Seekers and Their Deservingness of Refugee Status in Turkey.” Middle East Critique 29(1) (2020): 29-46, DOI: 10.1080/19436149.2020.1704506 

Joseph Massad, Desiring Arabs. (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2007)

Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (London: Routledge, 1995)


Ali Ali

Ali Ali is a PhD student in EuroStorie Subproject 3, Migration and the Narratives of Europe as an ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’. He has a background in political science and gender studies. Ali’s current research looks into issues of belonging, community and solidarity across political and social categorisational lines in the lives of exiles who identify as sexually non-normative.

Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz

Dr Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz is the host of the EuroStorie Podcast. She is a postdoctoral researcher in subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past. She is a legal historian and classical archaeologist whose research focuses on management of cultural heritage and its political and social impact, maritime archaeology, ancient law and legal anthropology.

Zoë Jay

Dr Zoë Jay is the host of the EuroStorie Podcast. She is a post-doctoral researcher at EuroStorie in subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past. She has a background in international relations and political science, and her research focuses on European politics and culture, human rights, and the politics of international law and institutions.


Episode no: 2.2
Date recorded: 25 February 2021
Release date: 13 April 2021
Episode production, recording and editing: Zoë Jay and Emilia Mataix-Ferrándiz
Music: Antonio Lopez Garcia
Transcript: Karla Schröter
Web content: Maria Erma
Banner: Tuomas Heikkilä
Banner photo: Unsplash/Jakob Braun