Victimhood and femininities in Black lesbian asylum cases in Germany

Mengia Tschalaer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
362 Downloads (Pure)


This paper focuses on refugee claims made by lesbians racialised as Black in Germany. While there exists a relatively large body of works that examine how categories of sexuality and gender identity underpin the assessment of LGBTQI+ asylum, very little work has been dedicated to the precarity of lesbian asylum claimants. This paper seeks to contribute to the nascent discussion in the area of queer migration that asks about how imaginations of blackness, gender, and sexuality shape perceptions of ‘true’ victimhood. In thinking through the ‘double discrimination’ lesbian asylum seekers face within Germany’s asylum system – as women and lesbians – this paper explores how race as it pertains to constructions of femininity further contributes to the marginalisation of lesbians racialised as Black. I will use the example of two lesbian asylum cases from Uganda – both of which I have closely followed over the course of 14 months – so as to outline some of the main effects of such asylum practices as they relate to the question of who deserves Germany’s legal protection and how this relates to normative conceptualisations of female victimhood and humanitarianism. I contextualise such in-depth analysis with data collected through semi-structured interview and case analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Early online date2 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2020


  • Lesbian
  • Refugee
  • victimhood
  • femininity
  • asylum
  • Germany


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