Homonormativity in Space: Analyzing the Inclusivity of Queer Asylum Spaces in Nijmegen

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This thesis investigates inclusivity in queer asylum spaces using the theory of homonormativity. According to the theory of homonormativity, in order to be accepted in heteronormative society, queer people are forced to adhere to specific norms regarding their queerness. Using this theoretical lens, I have studied three layers in queer asylum spaces: space shapers, material design and atmosphere. I conducted fieldwork at COC Nijmegen, a queer organization that creates queer spaces for refugees and queer asylum seekers, in order to analyze these spaces. I have found that, although there are some homonormative assumptions in these spaces, different meeting setups and the recognition of queer people's oppression help to develop a complementary network of places that creates queer joy. Homonormativity manifests in several ways, however, this does not necessarily result in an exclusive space, as the heterogeneity of queer asylum seekers and refugees is reflected in the created spaces. Through the multi-scalar approach, I have found that these queer spaces are impacted by related social processes and institutions. I have analyzed the Dutch asylum system and municipal policies and practices in Nijmegen. The oppressive asylum system, which renders queer asylum seekers and refugees invisible, is opposed by the focus on queer joy and resistance in queer asylum spaces. The municipality and civil society actors in Nijmegen make significant contributions to the creation of queer spaces that are welcoming to queer asylum seekers and refugees. Keywords: Homonormativity, Queer asylum, Inclusivity, Multi-scalar, Nijmegen
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