Queering multilingualism and politics

Regimes of mobility, citizenship and (in)visibility

Authored by: Tommaso M. Milani , Erez Levon

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Politics

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138779167
eBook ISBN: 9781315183718
Adobe ISBN:


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In June 2014, Harriet Nakigudde, a Ugandan self-identified lesbian in the UK, was denied refugee status on the grounds of sexual orientation, and consequently deported by the British Home Office, because she had been ‘single for five years’, and hence could not convince immigration officials that she was ‘really’ lesbian (Morgan 2014). A perhaps less tragic, but nonetheless painful, story is that of Dario Kosarac, who ‘recounts his feelings of never totally belonging in Bosnia because his parents were of mixed Serbian-Croatian ethnic backgrounds; and never being totally accepted in the USA because he was from Bosnia and is gay’ (LGBT Asylum News 2011). By the same token, in a series of interviews with anthropologist David Murray (2014), a Nigerian man called Odu shared his distressing experience of linguistic anomie ensuing from a tension between resisting sexual-identity categories and the necessity of embracing the category ‘gay’ in order to gain refugee status in Canada. Finally, a South African same-sex couple on their way to Reunion was recently ‘harassed, intimidated and humiliated’ (DeBarros 2014) by a border official at O R Tambo international airport in Johannesburg after they presented their identity documents together at passport control. According to a news report, the official asked the couple who was the ‘man’ and who the ‘woman’ in the relationship, and went on to question ‘who put whose penis in whose anus, and how it felt’ (DeBarros 2014).

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