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Discourses on LGBT Asylum in the UkConstructing a Queer Haven$
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Thibaut Raboin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719099632

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719099632.001.0001

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The queer optimism of asylum

The queer optimism of asylum

(p.126) 5 The queer optimism of asylum
Discourses on LGBT Asylum in the Uk

Thibaut Raboin

Manchester University Press

This chapter starts by concentrating on the question of optimism and shows that asylum is based on a cruel optimism that cannot but fail in its promise of happiness. Optimism in LGBT asylum is a combination of discourses on neoliberalism, sexuality and rights-based aspirations which imagines futures for asylum seekers and simultaneously closes them off to render them unachievable. The chapter shows how the impossibility of reaching these happy futures turns asylum into a site for the contestation by advocates and asylum seekers themselves not only of asylum policies, but also of certain forms of queer liberalism. Such critiques are examined in detail in a second part, which analyses three art projects and performances that give rise to dissident voices and new imaginings of how asylum seekers and liberal queers can be engaged collectively in sexual politics in the UK. Challenging the cruel optimism of asylum, the analysis proposes to liberal queers to engage with LGBT asylum by looking at how their experiences differ in relation to migration, access to markets and mobility.

Keywords:   Optimism, Happiness, Neoliberalism, Refugee performance

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