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Towards Cosmopolitan Geographies of Migrations and Sexualities Agosto 30, 2013

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Towards Cosmopolitan Geographies of Migrations and Sexualities

 

Convened by: Paulo Jorge Vieira (Center for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon); Andrew Gorman Murray (University of Western Sydney); and Jorge Macaísta Malheiros (Center for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon)

a session in the II European Geographies of Sexualities Conference

 

This session will discuss the inter-relations between the “geographies of sexualities” and the field of population geography, including research on both international and intranational migration. In this sense, this session will map out possible themes that cross different fields of the (inter)disciplinary correlate of gender, sexuality and migration.

Recognizing a multiplicity of research conducted in recent years, this session will discuss the importance of migration and of different forms of mobility in the construction of the subjectivities of non-heteronormative sexualities and a variety of gender expressions and roles (Binnie, 2004). This includes issues akin to what Kath Weston (1995) called the “great gay migration”, discussions  of “queer diaspora”, and the application for political asylum based on sexual orientation (Fortier, 2001 and 2002).

PAPERS:

• “Se espavila!”: trajectories and experiences of gay Brazilian immigrants in Barcelona – Isadora Lins França

• The exotic in/of Lisbon (?) – Queer Brazilian Migration and Urban Cosmopolitanism – Paulo Jorge Vieira, Denise Santos

• Trans-Migrations – Luna Martinicorena

• Emerging adulthood, regular migration and sexuality: Latin-American immigrants in Madrid – Itzel Eguiluz

• Uma urbanidade da prostituição: sexualidade, migração e identidade – Diana Helene

•Re-interpreting stigma and stereotype: the use of aesthetic–corporal capital as a business resource by female Brazilian entrepreneurs in Portugal – Jorge Malheiros, Beatriz Padilla

 

• Moving to the gay and lesbian Mecca or just staying home? – Thomas Wimark

• LGBT communities, identities, and the politics of mobility: Moving from visibility to recognition in contemporary urban landscapes – Andrew Gorman-Murray, Catherine Jean Nash

• Heterotopias do desejo homossexual: pedir asilo no país dos Direitos do Homem – Graziela Kronka

• ‘Rescued’ Subjects: Humanitarian Discourses reading Non-heteronormative Asylum Seekers in the UK – Calogero Giametta

• The Queer Sound of Berlin: the creative Italian migration(s) in times of crisis – Kaciano Barbosa Gadelha, Cesare Di Feliciantonio

• A exigência de investigar a discriminação experimentada por imigrantes não heterossexuais – Marie Kinkle

 

 

 

ABSTRACTS

 

“Se espavila!”: trajectories and experiences of gay Brazilian immigrants in Barcelona

Isadora Lins França (Center for Gender Studies Pagu/State University of Campinas – isa.linsf@gmail.com )

 

One could say that an intense traffic of information, objects and people establishes a global circuit of consumption related to homosexuality and involving some cities – including Barcelona and São Paulo. The visibility of initiatives related to the gay market, as well as a widespread idea that Barcelona is a city where there is more freedom regarding to homosexuality, at some extent seems to take part of a sense of place that makes of Barcelona a destination valued by Brazilian gay men to visit or live.

This paper focuses on the trajectory of Brazilian gay immigrants and their experience in the city, especially considering their insertion in spaces of sociability and consumption frequented by gay men. It is based on the analysis of ethnographic field held in Barcelona with Brazilians living or visiting the city. One of the aims is to think about the boundaries between tourism and immigration and sex market and leisure market, considering how these dimensions seem articulated in transits and trajectories of the immigrants and how these men make visible and attribute meaning to their experiences in the city. One of the central ideas is that the experience of participation in the gay scene in Barcelona is much more diverse than assumes images that compose the city as a tourist destination, at least as diverse as are the different positions of subjects which integrate this setting. It exposes social power relations that operate at a local instance, but also refer to the places of origin of immigrants and tourists.

 

The exotic in/of Lisbon (?) – Queer Brazilian Migration and Urban Cosmopolitanism

Paulo Jorge Vieira (CEG-IGOT, University of Lisbon – pjovieira@gmail.com )

Denise Santos (ISCTE – IUL University Institute of Lisbon – deniseraquelsantos@gmail.com)

 

Based on ethnographic accounts of both authors this paper intends to question the importance of mobility and migration in queer subjectivities in contemporary urban spaces. The papers intends to discuss, from a theoretical framework with queer theory, poscolonial theory and migrations,  on the modes of inclusion / exclusion of immigrants, who self-identify as gay and lesbians in the city of Lisbon.

We start therefore a double thematic areas: studies on immigration and queer studies clusters born in a theoretical framework of post-colonial theory, and questioning well the importance of sexuality, race and nationality in the construction of subjectivity and the self from an exploratory model of the everyday and the space / time dichotomy of inclusion / exclusion.

This essay explores some of these processes and thus social practices from the dichotomy of inclusion / exclusion in the use and appropriation of public space in the city of Lisbon raising some questions that may open new avenues of research in the study of international migration, as well as in queer studies.

 

Trans-migrações

Luna Martinicorena (Universidade Complutense de Madrid – lunamartinicorena@gmail.com)

 

Os processos migratórios transnacionais contemporâneos (caracterizados pela sua intensidade e diversidade), são fenómenos de grande interesse social, implicados fortemente na reestruturação de espaços, de culturas, de processos económicos e políticos; assim como, na reformulação das relações sociais que os sujeitos em migração mantêm com os diversos agentes e espaços.

Mas, olhando para a literatura, o que acontece frequentemente é que de facto, se pressupõe que estes deslocamentos populacionais respondem a determinada normatividade sexual e de género. caracterizada por um binarismo geralmente inquestionado.

Não entanto, existem sujeitos, experiências e itinerários diversos que fogem às narrativas e aos relatos dominantes e mais habituais. Assim, quando falamos de movimentos migratórios transnacionais de pessoas trans, estamos a falar dum processo que implica o cruzamento de fronteiras não só geográficas, mas também dum atravessar e caminhar em e através de fronteiras corporais, de género, de classe e de etnia que emergem no contexto de migração. Estas viagens que começam e que estão inscritas na geografia corporal, são migrações, por tanto, de múltiplas dimensões. É assim que podemos dizer, que os corpos-sujeitos trans-migrantes na sua múltipla condição constituem uma contínua transgressão de fronteiras geopolíticas e corporais, tanto simbólicas, como materiais pelas quais são, ao mesmo tempo, definidos e interpelados, e por tanto, chamados a ocupar determinados espaços caracterizados pela vulnerabilidade, a discriminação e a denegação dos direitos ligados à posição de cidadania.

De este modo, a emergência das identidades transmigrantes, as estratégias e as práticas de resistência que estes corpos-sujeitos marginalizados desenvolvam, não estarão livres de complexidade, de tensões e contradições, num contexto em que a bio-politica foucaultiana toma toda sua força inscrevendo, produzindo e re-atualizando continuamente as marcas e as fronteiras de género, de etnia e de classe.

Neste ensaio exploratório queremos olhar para diversas experiencias de migração transnacional de pessoas trans (transsexuais, travestis, transgéneros) que escolheram Madrid como um dos pontos para a realização das –múltiplas– viagens.

 

Emerging adulthood, regular migration and sexuality: Latin-American immigrants in Madrid

Itzel Eguiluz (Instituto Universitario de Investigación José Ortega y Gasset, Spain – im.eguiluz@gmail.com)

The main idea of this paper is to discuss the sexual and reproductive health of Latin American immigrants in Madrid, answering the question: are they having different behaviours than in their origin countries and, if yes, which ones? The sample focuses on regular immigrants, men and women, that fit into the emerging adulthood (18-29 years old) category exploring through (32) in-depth interviews about their sexual believes and behaviours, especially during migration. Regular Latin American immigrant’s sexuality in Europe has been rarely addressed by researchers. Even the known importance of irregular migration sexuality studies because of the risks and vulnerability to which they are exposed, we should ask ourselves about what is happening with those regular migrants that fit into the emerging adult category, those who are emigrating to pursue college or postgraduate courses, those who have been living in their parent´s home until migration, and that in most cases are not married, and do not have children. Is their regular immigrant status leaving them aside from public health programs and researches, as at first sight they doesn´t imply a politic or economic “problem” to the receiving country? It doesn´t mean that that migrants imply problems; it means that we need to learn how this group is sexually and reproductive behaving and what leads them to this point.

 

Uma urbanidade da prostituição: sexualidade, migração e identidade

Diana Helene (IPPUR/UFRJ – Rio de Janeiro e EHESS – Paris: diana.helene@ufrj.br)

 

O bairro Jardim Itatinga, na cidade de Campinas (São Paulo/Brasil), foi criado pelo poder público nos anos 60 durante a ditadura militar, com o objetivo de concentrar no mesmo local todas as atividades ligadas à prostituição, de modo a isolá-la do resto da cidade. Com o tempo, o bairro cresceu e se urbanizou, e é considerado atualmente a maior zona urbana confinada de prostituição da América Latina. Entre as aproximadamente 2 mil prostitutas da “zona”, a maioria é migrante, originárias de cerca de 400 cidades diferentes, sendo que menos de 5% é de Campinas. Assim, o bairro se constitui como uma localidade de referência e de acolhimento: se encaixa como um território receptor de migração feminina em busca de melhoria de vida. A escolha por trabalhar numa casa do Jardim Itatinga, se deve a diversos fatores. O principal é que, segregadas da cidade “normal”, amparadas e escondidas nas casas especializadas, elas podem manter em segredo o ofício da sua família e conhecidos. A “zona” possui um sistema organizado de modo a sustentar o exercício da profissão: casas, salões de beleza, lojas, troca de experiências, bem como toda sua estrutura vicinal voltada para a mesma atividade. Ademais, o Jardim Itatinga está inserido em uma rede de troca de informações entre as prostitutas, que transitam entre as diferentes áreas de prostituição das cidades, em busca dos melhores e mais rentáveis locais para trabalhar. A partir da análise das características desse bairro de segregação e confinamento, mas ao mesmo tempo de acolhimento e proteção, se levantam intersecções entre gênero e território, a partir da discussão das especificidades da rede migratória feminina e do deslocamento geográfico como a possibilidade de adoção de uma outra identidade/sexualidade. Seria a “zona” um local para a prática de outra urbanidade, oposta à cidade da família e da esposa?

 

Re-interpreting stigma and stereotype: the use of aesthetic–corporal capital as a business resource by female Brazilian entrepreneurs in Portugal

Jorge Malheiros (IGOT-University of Lisbon – ogatomaltes@zonmail.pt)

Beatriz Padilla (CIES-ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon)

Brazilians are the major immigrant group in Portugal and constitute a feminised population (about 56% were women in 2010). The proportion and visibility of Brazilian women and particularly the specific images of Brazil and Brazilians in the Portuguese imaginary have contributed to the construction of new versions of stigma and stereotypes about them. The mainstream image of Brazilian women has incorporated a set of prejudices built around the imaginary of sensuality of creole women (exotic, ‘hot’, etc.), that are reminiscent of the Portuguese colonial past and its miscegenation ideology, originality supported by the luso-tropicalist narrative.

Starting from this stigmatic image, we will show how Brazilian women entrepreneurs established in the ‘beauty’ business filiére (from beachwear and underwear shops to massage parlours and hairdressers) re-interpret and mobilise perceived stigmatic elements, transforming them into an added-value associated with a supposedly more developed ‘aesthetic’ Brazilian body culture. Through this process, ‘body’ aesthetics becomes a business resource and is transformed into aesthetic–corporal capital, a key component of the Brazilian beauty business filière.

 

Moving to the gay and lesbian Mecca or just staying home?

Thomas Wimark (Stockholm University – thomas.wimark@humangeo.su.se)

 

In recent years a growing body of works within “geographies of sexualities” has focused on internal migration. Earlier understandings of gay and lesbian migration as a rural-to-urban phenomena, has been challenged by works illustrating the complexity and fluidity of the coming out process and the multiple pathways connected to it. Simultaneously studies within population geography on gay and lesbian residential concentration have shown that larger urban areas are overrepresented, results that can be considered contradictory to the works within geographies of sexualities. Thus, this study aims at contributing to these strands of research by arguing that they can be synthesized into one concept of residential relocation. To illustrate this, the study focuses on the early stages of identity formation. Most studies identify the coming out process as simultaneous to gay and lesbian migration patterns. Building on a spatial metaphor, the coming out process refers to going somewhere and this space is assumed to be identity. However, not all contexts in the world have the identity categories available. Therefore, this study is performed in Turkey where gay and lesbian identities only recently have emerged into the society. As in previous studies, the gay and lesbian identified people interviewed illustrate the process of making gay and lesbian identities available and the migration and mobility connected to it. They also imply that other intersections are important in migration pathways. Therefore, the study theorizes on some new ways to conceptualize gay and lesbian people’s internal migration.

 

LGBT communities, identities, and the politics of mobility: Moving from visibility to recognition in contemporary urban landscapes

Andrew Gorman-Murray (University of Western Sydney – a.gorman-murray@uws.edu.au )

Catherine Jean Nash (Brock University – cnash@brocku.ca)

 

Since ‘gay liberation’ in the 1960s, mobilisation around identity politics has been linked with the territorialisation of urban neighbourhoods in the Global North by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans) communities, and the creation of visible gay villages. Yet formations of identity politics have constantly shifted, along with the making of urban fabric by LGBT communities, and the very neighbourhoods ‘claimed’. This shifting ground signals that processes of identity politics are about the politics of mobility, incorporating material and social movements, alongside place-making. This entails physical, representational and behavioural transformations in mobile lives, which are interwoven with shifting identities, politics and practices. This paper thus uses a ‘politics of mobility’ approach to consider how changing social and political contexts are reflected in newly materialising neighbourhoods. The empirical ‘grounding’ of our argument is a study of contemporary political-spatial changes in Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. These cities house gay villages – Oxford Street in Sydney, Church-Wellesley Village in Toronto – and, over the last decade, have seen the development of alternative ‘queer’ neighbourhoods – Newtown in Sydney, Queer West in Toronto.

We argue that the contemporary mobile, relational geographies of LGBT neighbourhood change in these cities are underpinned by, and inform, a shift from a politics of visibility to a politics of recognition. This is enacted in the ways subjects differently inhabit and mobilise urban neighbourhoods. A politics of visibility foregrounds a specific identity and stresses ‘being seen’ to occupy space, exemplified in the visibility of gay subjects and territorialisation of ‘traditional’ gay villages – Oxford Street, Church-Wellesley. A politics of recognition does not assert visibility of a given identity, but desire for legibility and recognition by others as a competent, legitimate actor in public space; it encompasses intersecting identity categories (sexuality, gender, ethnicity, etc.) and the bodily practices and inter-subjective relations that underpin respect and validity. We suggest that this historical moment presents opportunities for a politics of recognition embedded within new formulations of mobilities that presume alternative presences in physical and symbolic landscapes. This is perhaps realised in the politics of mobility in ‘alternative’ LGBT neighbourhoods – Newtown, Queer West – where ‘queer’ subjects arguably move across, and mobilise, the streetscape as legible, legitimate actors within the local citizenry.

 

Heterotopias of homosexual desire: seeking asylum in the country of Human Rights

Graziela Kronka(grazielak@yahoo.com)

 

 

In this paper, continuing a long journey of discourse studies on homosexuality, I perform a linguistic analysis of discursive procedures for requesting asylum in France because of homosexual orientation or gender identity. Also analyze the performance of ARDHIS (Association pour la Reconnaissance des des Personnes Droites Homosexuelles & trasexuelles à l’immigration au séjour at), the only French association that has a tracking service for LGBT people who wish to seek asylum in the country. I want to observe to what extent the territorial displacements made by these people, their country of origin to the host country said, are accompanied (or not) by discursive displacements with respect to their sexual orientation or gender identity

 

‘Rescued’ Subjects: The Question of Agency and Religiosity for Non-heteronormative Asylum Seekers in the UK

Calogero Giametta (calogiame@googlemail.com)

 

The paper examines the problematic use of universal narratives of liberation and agency which are common within both academic and humanitarian discourses on asylum. The analysis is based on extended ethnography with people who have claimed asylum in the UK on the grounds of their sexual orientation.

This migrant group negotiates their sexual and gender identities across cultural constructions of gender liminality that do not match the repertoires of Western sexual identifications and lifestyles. Often, the sexual minority asylum seekers interviewed have been depicted as inconvenient subjects given the assumed incoherent relationship between their religiosity and sexuality. The in-depth interviews will be used to shed light on the modalities which this migrant population variably inhabits, the discourses which define them, and above all how they exceed these universalising narratives.

On the one hand the question that I pose is; where do religious sexual minority asylum seekers situate themselves within broader discourses of liberation and emancipation? On the other, what structural and discursive obstacles does the religious asylum seeker face in staking a claim to subject-status and belonging in a new social world?

 

“The Queer Sound of Berlin: the creative Italian migration(s) in times of crisis”

Kaciano Barbosa Gadelha (Free University Berlin – kacianogadelha@yahoo.fr) and Cesare Di Feliciantonio (Sapienza- University of Rome – cesare.difeliciantonio@uniroma1.it)

 

The literature on queer (inter)national migration has traditionally focused on two main kinds of displacement: the rural-urban trajectory and the Global South- Global North one. In fact, in analysing queer (as un umbrella term referring to sexual dissidents) migration at a national scale, most studies have focused on rural-to-urban trajectories, creating a symbolic rural/urban binarism. On the other side, international queer migration has been analysed just in terms of South-North displacement, e.g. queer refugees in Global North countries (Patton and Sanchez-Eppler, 2000). Research on queer migration as a Global North metropolitan area/ Global North metropolitan area displacement is lacking. In order to fill this void, this paper presents some preliminary results of our study on Italian queer “creative” migration to the city of Berlin, mainly from the major Italian metropolitan areas (Rome, Milan, …). By exploring these migratory flows ‘downsizing’ the geographical scale of analysis from the regional or the national to the body (Gorman-Murray, 2007:111), our aim is to challenge any reductionist account of migration processes, highlighting how diverse are the factors influencing the choice to migrate. In fact, if desire and imagery play a pivotal role in the choice to migrate to Berlin, a city traditionally featured by a underground and sexually open culture, our research reveals how important is the presence of a welfare state providing basic sustainment, especially regarding housing (on the contrary completely lacking in the Italian welfare system). By this way, the paper discusses the political economy of (sexual) desire and imagery linked to migrations from a Global North country to another one in times of crisis.

 

A exigência de investigar a discriminação experimentada por imigrantes nãoheterossexuais

Marie Kinkle (FCSH – UNL, Portugal – marie.klinke@googlemail.com)

 

Existe uma grande necessidade em investigar a experiência de discriminação múltipla de imigrantes não-heterossexuais no sentido de permitir uma análise mais profunda das inter-relações entre diferentes categorias sociais de género, sexualidade e raça. Estas tornam-se mais visíveis investigando casos que se encontram marginalizados em função de duas ou mais categorias sociais. Isto acontece com os imigrantes não heterossexuais, que, devido à sua dupla condição “desviada”, não se encaixam nem nos discursos nacionais, nem nos sexuais, nem nos raciais.

Partindo de uma visão crítica relativamente à lógica binária que infiltra os discursos e práticas, desta forma, e construindo conhecimento, a discriminação será explicada como um acto de diferenciação do “Outro”, incluindo a sua subvalorização.

Admitindo o facto de várias características sociais serem atribuídas a uma pessoa ao mesmo tempo, num acto de interacção a discriminação será concebida como múltipla, onde as diferentes categorias sociais interagem.

Será discutido em que medida no acto discriminatório o corpo tem a função de um médium em que as diferenças são inscritas, ou seja, como é feita a sua racialização e (heteros-)sexualização perante a interacção. Em segundo lugar, será levantada a questão sobre até que ponto o corpo exerce a função de interface das várias categorias sociais, reflectindo o seu impacto normativo e participando no seu estabelecimento. Mas, uma investigação deste tipo deverá igualmente ter em conta a importância de descrever o seu objecto de estudo não como vítima passiva, mas sim como agente activo, tendo capacidade de resistir à discriminação. Apenas desta forma a investigação da experiência de discriminação múltipla quotidiana pode evidenciar grande valor para a desconstrução crítica dos discursos e das práticas hegemónicos e binários, ultrapassando raciocínios paternalistas.

 

 

 

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