What does a ‘genuine lesbian’ look like? Intersections of sexuality and ‘race’ in Manchester’s Gay Village and in the UK asylum system

Held, Nina (2016) What does a ‘genuine lesbian’ look like? Intersections of sexuality and ‘race’ in Manchester’s Gay Village and in the UK asylum system. In: Stella, Francesca, Taylor, Yvette, Reynolds, Tracey and Rogers, Antoine (eds.) Sexuality, citizenship and belonging: trans-national and intersectional perspectives. Routledge advances in critical diversities (1). Routledge, London, pp. 131-148. ISBN 9781138805040

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Abstract

This chapter explores intersections of sexuality and ‘race’ by drawing on different projects: ethnographic research conducted in Manchester’s Gay Village and observations gathered through voluntary work with the grassroots organisation Lesbian Immigration Support Group (LISG) in Manchester. The chapter demonstrates that in both night-time lesbian leisure spaces and the asylum system in the UK, belonging to the group ‘lesbian’ is inherently racialised. In the Gay Village, some bodies are perceived and constructed as the ‘somatic norm’ while others are (made) ‘out of place’. The chapter argues that this norm is produced through representations, door policies, and other spatial practices. In the asylum system, for asylum claims based on sexuality to be successful the claimant must ‘prove’ their sexuality. The majority of sexuality cases are refused on grounds of credibility, where the claimant is not believed to be lesbian. The chapter demonstrates that these claims have a higher chance of success if the claimant conforms to homonormative notions that are racialised and constructed around a Western model of sexuality that is ‘out and proud’.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: 'race', whiteness, asylum, Manchester's Gay Village, sexuality
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Nina Held
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 09:51
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63789

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