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Accordion homes : lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) refugees' experiences of home and belonging… Fobear, Katherine Marie 2016

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 ACCORDION HOMES: LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANS (LGBT) REFUGEES’ EXPERIENCES OF HOME AND BELONGING IN CANADA  by  KATHERINE MARIE FOBEAR  B.Sc., The University of Michigan, 2008 M.Sc., The University of Amsterdam, 2010    A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF   DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY   in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES  (Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice)    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August 2016    ©Katherine Marie Fobear, 2016 !! ii! ABSTRACT    This thesis examines the homing experiences of LGBT refugees in Vancouver, British Columbia. Using participatory photography, ethnography, and oral history, this project interrogates home and belonging for individuals claiming and receiving asylum based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The issues examined lie at the intersection of two ongoing discussions in migration scholarship: on race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity in refugee settlement in Canada, and on home and belonging for LGBT refugees. This examination contributes to both of these discussions. The research suggests reimagining refugee settlement in Canada through the lens of sexualized and gendered bodies in order to queer refugee settlement and expand the scope of home and belonging beyond the pragmatic to aspects of relatedness to places, bodies, and persons.  LGBT refugees are caught in between two “(un)homey” places, Canada and their home countries, in which they experience marginalization as queer minorities. LGBT refugees’ experiences challenge the binary between home and homelessness/ displacement and emplacement. Home is not cemented in Vancouver or LGBT refugees’ countries of origin. It rests in the attachments LGBT refugees make with different places, communities, and their own bodies. The relationships LGBT refugees maintain between Canada and their countries serves as a necessary means for them to create a sense of home. These transnational relationships push homemaking outside of the heterosexual neoliberal nation-state and challenge static concepts of home. The fluidity of transnational relationships for LGBT refugees challenges the conceptualization of “home” within policy and academic literatures on settlement. This research unsettles homonational narratives around Canada being a progressive safe haven and discourses about “saving” LGBT refugees.  Finally, the thesis reflects on the potential role of the activist-scholar in working with persons living precarious lives in precarious situations, and the responsibilities held by both the researcher and participants in documenting, interpreting, and exhibiting LGBT refugees’ experiences of home and belonging.      ! iii! PREFACE  This!dissertation!is!an!original!intellectual!product!of!the!author,!Katherine!Marie!Fobear.!The!fieldwork!reported!in!Chapters!3=5!was!covered!by!UBC!Ethics!Certificate!number!H13=00728.!!Portions!of!the!introductory!and!methodology!text!have!been!published!in:!!!Fobear,!K.!(2016).!“Nesting!Bodies.”!Exploration!of!the!Body!and!Embodiment!in!Sexual!and!Gender!Minority!Refugee!Oral!History!&!Participatory!Photography.!Social'Alternatives.!(Accepted!for!Publication!in!2016).!!Fobear,!K.!(2016).!Unsettling!Interpretative!Authority:!Connecting!Critical!Indigenous!Methodology!with!Feminist!Oral!History.!Journal'of'Feminist'Scholarship.!(In!Press,!Publication!in!Spring,!2016).!!!Fobear,!K.!(2015).!“You!can’t!even!imagine!what!it’s!like”:!Critical!Challenges!in!Listening,!Storytelling,!and!Representation!of!LGBT!Refugees!in!Activist=Scholarship.!Studies'in'Social'Justice!9(1),!102=117.!! !!Fobear,!K.!(2014).!Telling!Our!Truths:!Oral!History,!Social!Justice,!and!Queer!Refugees.!Oral'History'Forum!34,!1=4.!!!Fobear,!K.!(2014).!Queer!Settlers:!Questioning!settler!colonialism!in!LGBT!asylum!processes!in!Canada.!Refuge!30(1),!47=56.!!           ! iv!TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract………………………………………………………………………………..ii    Preface…………………………………………………………………………………iii  Table of Contents……………………………………………………………………..iv  List of Figures…………………………………………..………………….……….....ix  Acknowledgements……………………………………………...…….………………xi   Chapter One: Introduction…………………………………………………………..1    1.1 What Initially Led Me to Research        Home and Belonging for LGBT Refugees………………………...………......10    1.2 Refugee Settlement in Vancouver,        British Columbia and the Challenges        Faced by LGBT Refugees…………………………………………...………….15   1.3 Recognizing Postcolonial Theory, Postcolonial Queer     Theory, and Settler Colonialism in LGBT Forced Migration     Research in Canada ……………………………………………………………27   1.4 Exploring Questions of Home and Belonging…………………………….41   1.5 Thesis Outline…………………………………………………………....….51   Chapter Two: Research Design And Analysis……………………………………..55   2.1 Engagement as an Activist-Researcher……………………………………55   2.2 Critical Ethnography……………………………….………………………63   2.3 Oral History………………………………………….…………...…………64   2.4 Participatory Photography………………............................…...…………70    2.5 Research Design……………………………………………………...……..74  ! v!  2.6 “Your project looked interesting”        Engagement with the Participants…………………………………….………84   2.7 Analysis of the Data and the Structuring of the Thesis…………..………90   Chapter Three: Homing Between to (Un)Homey Places:       Relatedness and Place for Racialized Gay Refugees     Stories of Devran, Mario, & John………………………………………...……96   3.1 Devran……………….……………………………………………………..100   3.1.1. “Because in Canada people don’t actually like refugees.”     Devran’s Immigration to Canada and        Post-Refugee Process…………………………………..………………………102   3.1.2 “A very short little window…”        The Emotional and Relational Construction Of Home(s)…………………..114     3.1.3 “There was closeness there that will never happen here”     Settled and Unsettled: Homing Narratives       And Practices……………………………………………………………….….126   3.2 Mario…………………………………….…………………………………133   3.2.1 “My goal is to be happy”        Refugee Process and Cracks         In Multiculturalism………………………………..…………………………..136   3.2.2 “We exist, you know?”        Race and Class in the Gay Bar                   And the Creation of Gay Latino Parties……………………...………………143    3.2.3 “In order for you to something,         you need to have memories”         Memory, Place, and Bringing Two Lives into One………………… ………154   3.3 John………………………………………..……………………………….158  3.3.1 “I was hoping that Vancouver would be sunnier.                  But, there are gray skies here too”.        Coming to Canada and the Refugee Process .…………………….….………161 ! vi!  3.3.2 “It’s not a perfect rainbow.”         Experiences of Racism, Ageism, and Classism        In Davie Village…………………………………..……………………...…….168   3.3.3 “Still waiting for my ship.”        Isolation, Relatedness, and Getting By……..……………….……………..…182   3.4 Conclusion: Relatedness and Placemaking………………… …….….…190   Chapter Four: The Body as a Site for Homecoming:       Experiences of Home and Belonging for Trans Refugees.     Stories of Tiffany, Natalie, and June…………………………………………..…..…196   4.1 Tiffany……………..…………………………………………………….....201   4.1.1 “I wouldn’t do all of this if I didn’t want to be a woman”     Trans Migration and the Refugee Process……………….....................….….205  4.1.2 “I am faced with the same problems over again”      Hyper-Regulation and Erasure of Trans Refugees……..…………..…...…..221   4.1.3 “You got to build the whole nest”         Relatedness, Embodiment, and Home………………………………………232   4.2 Natalie…………………………………….………………………………..240   4.2.1 “You can only run so much, right?”        Coming to Canada and Becoming a Convention Refugee…………………242   4.2.2 “You can never relax and enjoy the night”      Navigating Vancouver’s Gay and Straight Worlds…………………………250   4.2.3 “When I see myself fully in the mirror…”       Dwelling in the Body…………………………………………………………..254   4.3 June………………………………………………………………………...258  4.3.1 “…I never felt home in the country where I was born”     Living in the United States and Coming to Canada ……...………………...260   ! vii! 4.3.2 “Hiding me from the world”        Refugee Hearing and Post Refugee Hearing … .……………………………271   4.3.3 “I feel at home when I look at the trees”       Unhomey Places and Dwelling……………… ……………...…..……………278   4.4 Conclusion: The Body and Homing………………… ……..……………282   Chapter Five: “How is where we are together” Domesticity and Homing for Queer Refugee Couples Stories of Tavo, Juliet, Sara, and Samuel…………………...…287   5.1 Tavo ……..……………………………… ………………………………...292   5.1.1 “Being gay is bad enough. It is foolish to want more”     Queer Violence as Gender Violence ……………...………………………….294   5.1.2 “Vancouver is like a golden cage”        Living in Canada Undocumented and        The Refugee Process……… …………………………………………………304   5.1.3 “Will I fall back in love with there”       Forced Migration as Intimate Migration ….. …………. ………. ……….…314  5.2 Sara and Juliet…………………… ……...………………………………..324  5.2.1 “We just knew that we were in love”        Gender Violence Across Borders………………… ……….. ……...………...326   5.2.2 “We could not find a place to rest”        Challenges in Finding Housing        And Employment…………………………….. ……..…………………..……339   5.2.3 “If you have love, you have some feelings of home”      Home Dwelling in Moments of Intimacy………………………...……..……347  5.3 Samuel……………………………...……………………………..…….….352   5.3.1 “I just wanted to live a normal life”        Coming to Canada and Making a Refugee Claim………………… …....….355   5.3.2 “Home is where I can be with him and our puppy”      Carrying Home with You……………… ……………….……………………364 ! viii! 5.4 Conclusion: Home Rests Between You and Me……… ………………...374   Chapter Six: Accordion Homes……………………………………………...……...378   6.1 Challenges in Finding and Securing Employment      Housing for In-Land LGBT Refugees… ………………………..………….382   6.2 Border Insecurities and Underlying Heteronormativity     and Racisim in the Asylum Process ……………………… ……………..….385   6.3 Home as Multiple and Fluid …… ……………………………… …....... 387   6.4 Emplaced Displacement and Dwelling        In-Between (Un)homey Places……………………………………….....….…389  6.5 Relatedness and Relationships with People       as an Orientating Device in Home and Belonging ……………….…….……392     6.6  Social Inclusion and the Possibilities for        Decolonization and Coalition…………………………… ……………….…..394   6.7 Activist-Research with LGBT Refugees………. ………………………..399   6.8 Final Commentary…… ………………………………………….…...….402    Bibliography………..…………………………………………...…….…………….404   Appendices……………………………………………………….………………….446  Appendix A: Introductory Information Sheet for Interviews with Settlement Workers… …………………………………………………………………....446   Appendix B: Consent Form for Informational Interviews …………….….449   Appendix C: Information Sheet for Oral History Interviews… ……….…452   Appendix D: Consent Form for Oral History Interviews…… ………..…..455   Appendix E: Consent Form Participatory Photography…… ……….…....458  ! ix!LIST OF FIGURES   Figure 1.1 Map of Metro Vancouver……………………………………………15 Figure 2.1 Hands in Solidarity………………………………………………......59 Figure 2.2 Busting Borders Workshop…………………………...………….....61 Figure 2.3 Busting Borders Workshop…………………………………………61 Figure 3.1 Devran in the Garden with Smokey………………………………..100 Figure 3.2 Rainbow Refugee Meeting Room…………………………………..106 Figure 3.3 View of Davie Street from Rainbow Refugee Meeting Room…….106 Figure 3.4 Smokey Staring out the Window…………………………………...114 Figure 3.5 Smokey in the Afternoon Light…………………………………….114 Figure 3.6 Vancouver Skyline Taken from Stanley Park……………………..118 Figure 3.7 Picture of Vancouver Coastline from the SeaBus…………………123 Figure 3.8 Devran’s Apartment Door…………………………………………..126 Figure 3.9 Picture of the Garden in Devran’s Apartment Complex………….128 Figure 3.10 Devran’s Hookah…………………………………………………...130 Figure 3.11 Day of the Dead Doll……………………………………………......133 Figure 3.12 Day of the Dead Dolls in a Row……………………………………143 Figure 3.13 Advertisement for VLGC Created by Mario……………………..149 Figure 3.14 Advertisements for Latin Nights……………………...…………...150 Figure 3.15 Cloudy Sky………………………………………………………….161 Figure 3.16 Picture of Green Grass……………………………………………..164 Figure 3.17 Picture of Food……………………………………………………...166 Figure 3.18 Picture of a Waterfall and a Picture of a Dumpster……………...168 Figure 3.19 Picture of Davie Street and Rainbow Flag………………………..181 Figure 3.20 Pictures of People at the Bus Stop…………………………………183 Figure 3.21 Picture of Flowers…………………………………………………..186 Figure 3.22 Vancouver Skyline………………………………………………….188 Figure 4.1 Tiffany Holding a Message She Wrote on a Leaf…………………..201 Figure 4.2 Tiffany’s Dress………………………………………………………..208 Figure 4.3 Tiffany’s Feet on the SkyTrain……………………………………....221 Figure 4.4 Tiffany’s Bedroom………………………………………………........228 Figure 4.5 Tiffany’s foot at Library Square where the IRB is located………..232 Figure 4.6 Photograph of Skyline Taken From Tiffany’s Apartment………...234 Figure 4.7 of Homeless Market………………………………………………….238 Figure 4.8 June’s Hands………………………………………………………....258 Figure 4.9 Action Figure Strip Tease…………………………………………....261 Figure 4.10 Concert Tickets……………………………………………………...265 Figure 4.11 Tree Branches in Black and White…………………………………267 Figure 4.12 Food Scraps…………………………………………………………..269 Figure 4.13 Photograph of river at Lynn Canyon Park………………………...273 Figure 4.14 June’s Hand in the River……………………………………………274 Figure 4.15 Picture of Snow-covered Trees………………………………….…..278 Figure 4.16 Picture of Forest Floor……………………………………………....279 ! x!Figure 4.17 Close-up of June’s Cat……………………………………………...280 Figure 5.1 Picture of Tavo from his apartment window…………………….....292 Figure 5.2 Gay Pride Parade in Tavo’s Country of Origin…………………....294 Figure 5.3 Picture of Statue Against the Skyline……………………………….296 Figure 5.4 Picture of Tavo’s Dogs……………………………………………….298 Figure 5.5 Picture of Bar and Tavo’s Back……………………………………..302 Figure 5.6 Pictures of Tavo’s Dolls and Luis’s Hand…………………………..304 Figure 5.7 Picture of Cherry Trees and Street………………………………….307 Figure 5.8 Golden Sunset on the Beach………………………………………….309 Figure 5.9 Picture of Sunset at the Beach……………………………………….314 Figure 5.10 Picture of Tavo’s Passport………………………………………….317 Figure 5.11 Picture of Tavo’s Mantras………………………………………….320 Figure 5.12 Picture of Sunset and Coast at Canada Place……………………..324 Figure 5.13 Picture of Sunset at English Bay…………………………………...333 Figure 5.14 Picture of Geese in the Park………………………………………..339 Figure 5.15 Picture of Flowers at the Welcome House…………………………341 Figure 5.16 Picture of Roof……………………………………………………….347 Figure 5.17:Picture of Grouse Mountain………………………………………...350 Figure 5.18 Picture of Cherry Tree Branches and Building……………………352 Figure 5.19 Close-up of Cherry Tree Branches…………………………………353 Figure 5.20 Picture of Sunset in Samuel’s Country of Origin………………….355 Figure 5.21 Picture of Samuel’s Dog……………………………………………..357 Figure 5.22 Picture of Teacups in Samuel’s Home……………………………...364 Figure 5.23 Pictures from E. Lodge ……………. ………………………………365 Figure 5.24 Pictures from E Lodge and Samuel’s Current Apartment………..367 Figure 5.25 Picture of Oranges from Samuel’s Family’s Home………………..370 Figure 5.26 Picture of Trees and Green Grass from Samuel’s Walk ………..372 Figure 6.1 View of Burrard Bridge, Downtown Vancouver  …………………378                ! xi!ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS   Upon sitting to write my dedication, I found myself fascinated by the dynamics at play in the standard formulas, approaches, and politics of dedications- so much so that I was tempted to throw out over four hundred pages of work and start over researching the implications and significances of dedications. Obviously, I say this to draw your attention because I truly do want as many people as possible to know about the incredible people who have supported me throughout this endeavor. Regardless of how formulaic or otherwise the following words may seem, they come from a place of incredible gratitude and humility.  First and foremost, I want to thank the volunteers and members of Rainbow Refugee for showing me such amazing patience and mentorship. Chris Morrissey, Sharalyn Jordan, Niyazi Ugurleur, and Nasser Hamadeh continue to inspire me with the hard work that they do for refugees. Their friendship has given me a sense of home when I felt restless and out of place in Vancouver. Thank you to Bridget Coll who I was lucky enough to spend time with before her passing. Your legacy continues with Rainbow Refugee and LEGIT. I want to thank our members of Rainbow Refugee who have dedicated their time in championing refugee rights. Shep, Pat, Chema, Eegii, Helen, Alex, Emma, Josh, Zdravko, and Noe, you continue to rock. Thank you to Mira Ghattas and Melanie Schambach for all of their work in the Painted Stories Project.  I want to thank my supervisors Erin Baines and Leslie Robertson for being such strong mentors to me and pushing me in my critical thinking. Both of you were instrumental in designing this project and the final production. You went above and beyond the call of duty as my supervisors. Thank you, Erin, for the opportunities you opened for me in my research and activism as a queer scholar. You made me feel welcomed in spaces where at times I did not feel safe. Thank you, Leslie, for your sharp wit and commentary. Both of you showed me the possibilities of being an activist scholar and that there can be a place for people like me.  A heartfelt thank you to my committee member Pilar Riaño Alcalá. I learned so much from your classes and the work you continue to do in bringing different communities together for social justice. Thank you for pushing me in my exploration of memory and activist scholarship. Your work remains a touchstone in my research and I feel very grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with you.  A double thank you goes to Sharalyn Jordan who has worn many hats in this research as my committee member and fellow volunteer for Rainbow Refugee. I feel so lucky that I can call you my mentor and co-conspirator. Your dedication and passion for queer refugees kept me inspired and pushed me to work harder.   It takes a village to push a PhD student to where I am now and I wouldn’t be here without these people. Thank you to my former college professors, Sarah Smith, Drew Colenbrander, and Sarah Wiley for inspiring me and giving me the courage to continue forward with my education. Thank you to Judit Takacs for providing me such amazing ! xii!support during my time in Budapest. You were and continue to be an amazing mentor and scholar. Thank you to Gert Hekma for being such a great and provocative supervisor. Thank you to my editors Brandon Cirillo and Christina Newberry for making my work legible. You truly know how to spin straw into gold.  Thank you to the faculty and students at the Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice Institute. I feel so lucky to have shared my time at the GRSJ with such amazing scholars and activists. I am appreciative of the opportunities the GRSJ has provided me to grow as a scholar, as a lecturer, and as an artist. Thank you to Guldana Salimjan and Sheila Sengupta for always lifting my spirits. Thank you to my favorite Amazon, Joshua Ferguson. Your work has pushed me in my thinking around gender. I feel so grateful that I can call you my friend and fellow organizer. I cannot wait to see what more you will create. Count me in for your next casting call!  Thank you to all of my friends at the Liu Institute who supported and encouraged me. To Julian Okot Bitek whose work touches a part of me where words cannot fully articulate, thank you. Thank you to the members of the Transitional Justice Network who let a queer person like me into their world. Thank you to Julie Wagemaker, Patty Galivan, and the Liu’s former director Peter Dauvergne for funding and supporting the Liu Scholars Program. I couldn’t have done half of the work I did without your support. Thank you to my Global Queer Research Group Conspirators, Fatima Jaffer and Dai Kojima. I cannot express how much your work and your presence in my life has affected me. You two are incredible scholars and activists. I feel incredibly lucky that I got to learn from you and push myself out of my comfort zones. The last, but definitely not least person I want to celebrate is Shayna Plaut. Your integrity, passion, and badassness keeps me on my toes and makes me want to leave my cave. I am lucky to be able to call you my friend.  Thank you to my parents for supporting me even if they didn’t understand what the hell I was doing. Thank you Mom and Dad for your encouragement. Thank you to my grandpa, Robert Rattray, who made me think that I could do anything I put my mind to. I miss you every day. Thank you to my sister Melissa and sister-in-love Stacy for always being there for me. You are my number one cat ladies. He might not be old enough to read this, but, thank you to my nephew Niko for reminding me that there is constant joy in this world. And most of all thank you to my brother, Ed. You are my sounding board and my cheerleader. You supported me ever since I was sixteen years old. I would not be here without you. This dissertation is as much of mine as it is yours. I owe you a massive cookie cake.   Oh! And thank you to my elderly cats, Ping and Mona for not dying before I finished this dissertation. I really appreciate it.  The research presented here was supported by the IASSCS-Ford Foundation Emerging Scholar Award International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society, Michelle Lynn Rosa Memorial Prize for Leadership and Knowledge Mobilization through Public Engagement, and the Barbara Roberts Memorial Fund: Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. !1""1  Introduction  June 2013 “Welcome to Canada!”   William shouts this into my cell phone. He is talking to Roger,1 a fellow gay refugee claimant from West Africa. We are standing in the lobby of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) high-rise on Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver. We have just left his refugee hearing.  I can hear Roger’s excited shouting through the phone as he congratulates William. William hands the phone to me. Roger asks, excited, “Kat, do you think it will be the same for me?”  Roger’s refugee hearing is in two weeks, and I know that he is anxious.   I watch William spin in circles on the granite floors in the sun-streamed lobby. He is shouting repeatedly, “Welcome to Canada!” People entering the building are walking past William and smiling at him. I smile and say to Roger, “Well, we can only hope. Stay positive.”  Roger says, “Yes, I will. I will see you at the next meeting.” We say our goodbyes and hang up.   William stops spinning and says to me, “Is it real? Am I here?”  I nod my head and say, “Yes. You did it.”  William jumps in the air, shouting, “Welcome to Canada,” and starts to spin again, laughing and crying with his arms in the air. (Field notes, June 2013)    The image of William spinning in the lobby of the Canadian IRB building is burned into my memory. It was a significant day for William. It was also a significant day for me. This was the first refugee hearing that I attended alone as a volunteer for Rainbow Refugee. Rainbow """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""1 William and Roger are pseudonyms. 2""Refugee is a Vancouver-based organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans2 refugee claimants.3 I worked with William for three months at Rainbow Refugee, helping him prepare for his refugee hearing. Through our interactions, William told me his story of being a gay man in West Africa. William shared with me his fear that his refugee claim would be rejected. Homosexuality was criminalized in his country, and if he were sent back he would face imprisonment and possibly death.    When I left William on the corner of Georgia and Granville Streets that day, I was overcome with a feeling of amazement at how much a person’s life can change within an hour. Now that William could remain in Canada, I wondered what would happen to him. Where would his life lead him? How would he create a life here in Canada? What challenges would he face? What new opportunities would he discover? Would Canada be a new home for William?   I called William in the fall of 2014 to ask him if I could share my memory of his hearing in my dissertation. William was living in Calgary and working as a construction worker. He moved to Calgary two months after his refugee hearing for work and the lower cost of living. He was happy to hear from me and gave me permission to write about my experiences of attending his refugee hearing. William said, “It was such a happy day for me, Kat. If that happy day can help you, then I am happy” (William, personal communication, September 2014).   """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""2 Trans refers to individuals who do not associate or identify themselves with the gender assigned to them at birth.  I use “Trans” as an umbrella term for gender nonconforming, gender fluid/creative, and gender variant individuals (Roen, 2001; Stryker, 2006; Spade, 20087, 2011). It is recognition to the ongoing dialogue within and outside of the larger trans community on the meanings and significances of gender identity terms and politics. Trans is a way for me to note that the terms around gender identity and gender nonconformity are not settled, but dynamic and changing depending on the cultural context and the community involved.  3 For more information about Rainbow Refugee, see http://www.rainbowrefugee.ca. 3"" I asked William what he now thinks about his refugee process and his time in Canada. He responded,  I was so worried about the hearing that I didn’t think about life after that. Because if it was a no, I have no life. I would be dead… But, now I see that it was one step in many steps. Canada is difficult to live. I did not know this. It is hard place for refugees. I wish I had known that. I could prepare more. But it’s okay. I am alive here. That’s important. (William, personal communication, September 2014)   It is significant that I start this thesis with one of my memories. To start with a personal memory speaks to the way that memory grounds this thesis conceptually and methodologically. Much of the work presented in this work revolves around lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT)4 refugees’ memories of home and belonging. My memories are also blended into this text as an observer, a reader, a listener, a co-collaborator, and a researcher. Michael Frisch writes that researchers must offer their own experience up to the same scrutiny and rigour that they use for their participants and the knowledge they collect: “You cannot open a question without leaving yourself open to it. You cannot scrutinize a ‘subject’ without being scrutinized by it” (Frisch, 1990, 189). Questioning is never one-sided. As much as a researcher may be assessing and questioning the research participants, the participants are also questioning and assessing the researcher (Best, 2003). I took many twists and turns in my theoretical and analytical thinking as I sought to understand LGBT refugees’ stories of home and belonging. In the following chapters, """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""4 I define LGBT refugees as individuals who file refugee claims based on fear of persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This differs from sexual and gender minorities who file refugee claims based on political, ethnic, cultural, or religious persecution not specifically based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and from sexual and gender minorities who are granted asylum based solely on living in an area of conflict or humanitarian crisis. This definition is also separate from female-bodied applicants who file refugee claims based on fear of persecution because they are women/female-bodied or because they are escaping gender violence directed at women/female-bodied persons. While these groups share many of the same causes of persecution and experiences, this research focuses on individuals who file refugee claims based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 4""I trace those personal, theoretical, and methodological twists and turns, which shaped this research and ultimately led me to focus on the narratives and photographs of ten LGBT refugees living in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia.   Over the past decade, the number of individuals claiming refugee asylum based on sexual orientation and gender identity has risen dramatically, making this one of the fastest-growing refugee populations in the world (Türk, 2015; UNHCR, 2015). In 1991, Canada was among the first Western nation to grant refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Since then, Canada has maintained one of the highest refugee acceptance rates in the Global North for sexual and gender minorities fleeing persecution (Lee & Brotman, 2011). While researchers have done significant work on heteronormativity5 within the Canadian asylum process (LaViolette, 2009) and how LGBT refugee claimants navigate the Canadian refugee process (Jordan, 2010; Lidstone, 2006), very little work has been done on the experiences of home and belonging for LGBT refugees (Murray, 2014a). The dearth of research on how LGBT refugees create a sense of home in Canada leads to a silencing of LGBT refugees in migration research and a critical disconnect in local and national immigration policy and settlement services.    Accordion Homes: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Refugees’ Experiences of Home and Belonging in Canada examines the homing experiences of LGBT refugees6 in Metro """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""5 Heteronormative refers to the assumption that individuals are naturally heterosexual and that most individuals are heterosexual. Heterosexuality is seen as the norm. Those who are not heterosexual are seen as deviant.  6 It is important to acknowledge the challenge with language regarding sexual and gender identity and orientation when working with refugee persons. All of the participants in this research self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or trans. I identified myself to the participants as a queer cisgender woman. These identity terms should not be seen as universal or monolithic, and particular attention must be paid to the way that persons strategically use identity 5""Vancouver, British Columbia. Using participatory photography, ethnography, and oral history, this project interrogates home and belonging for individuals claiming and receiving asylum based on sexual orientation and gender identity."The issues examined lie at the intersection of two ongoing discussions in migration scholarship: on race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity in refugee settlement in Canada (Jordan, 2010), and on home and belonging for LGBT refugees (Murray, 2014). This examination contributes to both of these discussions.  LGBT refugees’ experiences challenge the binary between home and homelessness/ displacement and emplacement. Home is not cemented in Metro Vancouver or LGBT refugees’ countries of origin. It rests in the attachments LGBT refugees make with different places, communities, and their own bodies. The fluidity of transnational relationships for LGBT refugees challenges the conceptualization of “home” within policy and academic literatures on settlement. First, it disrupts homonational7 narratives around Canada being a progressive safe haven and discourses about “saving” LGBT refugees. LGBT refugees must navigate between ethnic and queer8 communities in Metro Vancouver in which they experience marginalization as queer, low-income, and racialized immigrants. LGBT refugees face several barriers to housing, employment, and other social services in Metro Vancouver because of their refugee status and being queer immigrants. The research findings challenge the stereotypes that depict LGBT """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""terms as well as how these terms may be adapted and transformed across locations, cultures, and communities.     7 Homonationalism is a term coined by Jasbir Puar (2007) to describe the use of LGBT identity politics and the LGBT rights movement for nationalistic and militaristic purposes, that is, the state’s or popular culture’s use of LGBT rights rhetoric to evaluate other countries’ sovereignty.  8 Queer refers to non-heterosexual and/or gender-variant individuals (Phelan, 2001; Luibhéid & Cantú, 2005), as well as an anti-essential theoretical and political approach to sexuality and gender (Epprecht, 2008). To queer something means to destabilize heteronormative and cisnormative social norms and ideologies imbuing it. Queering also involves placing the experiences of non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgender persons in the forefront of social analysis. 6""refugees as being without familial/communal support and their countries of origin as inherently “backwards.” Their stories complicate current legal and social framing of homophobic and transphobic persecution as being based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity. The intersection of socio-economic status and global positioning affects how LGBT refugees’ bodies are made vulnerable to social and institutional violence in their countries of origin. These same factors also regulate queer refugees’ bodies in Canada and contribute to LGBT refugees’ sense of precariousness and vulnerability in Metro Vancouver. In order to navigate their settlement in Metro Vancouver, LGBT refugees heavily depend upon the relationships they maintain in their countries of origin as well as the relationships they create in Vancouver.  Second, the thesis adds empirical and locally grounded evidence in support of a more complicated and nuanced explanation of refugee settlement than is commonly used in the heteronormative and analytical frameworks familiar in forced migration research. It suggests reimagining refugee settlement in Canada through the lens of sexualized and gendered bodies in order to queer refugee settlement and expand the scope of home and belonging beyond the pragmatic to aspects of relatedness to places, bodies, and persons. Through their participatory photography and oral histories, the participants challenge static concepts of home. The participants’ stories and photographs create a new perspective on refugee displacement and homemaking that is nonlinear and non-binary. Instead of being displaced by being forcibly removed from their countries of origin, LGBT refugees experience an “emplaced displacement” that rests on their experiences of belonging and unbelonging between Canada and their countries of origin. LGBT refugees do not replace their homes in their countries of origin with another home in Canada, specifically Metro Vancouver. Home also does not rest strictly in physical locations or housing structures. Instead, it is the moments of attachment and the experiences of 7""connection or disconnection to the places and people LGBT refugees encounter(ed) that determine LGBT refugees’ sense of home and belonging.    Finally, the thesis reflects on the potential role of the activist-scholar in working with persons living precarious lives in precarious situations, and the responsibilities held by both the researcher and participants in documenting, interpreting, and representing LGBT refugees’ experiences of home and belonging. The evidence collected is a result of reflective engagement with the research participants and the LGBT refugee community as a settlement volunteer for Rainbow Refugee and as a researcher on queer refugee settlement. The way that the participants’ stories and photographs are displayed in the text and interpreted remains an ongoing negotiation of the relationships within the research. This text is as much an analysis of LGBT refugees’ experiences of home and belonging as it is an interrogation of the research process.  This research pushes current work on queer migration to look at the intersections of race, citizenship, gender identity, and class in LGBT refugees’ experiences of home and belonging. Historically, queer migration research has focused on the experiences of relatively privileged queer citizens who have not only the economic resources to move and resettle, but also privileges related to being white, non-disabled, cisgender, and educated (Di Feliciantonio & Gadelha, 2015). Martin Manalansan (2014) writes that while in recent years more attention in work on the intersections of ethnicity and race has been directed to the migration and mobility of queer bodies and communities, more work needs to be done on queer communities that do not have the privilege of citizenship and must live in liminal spaces of existence. This is especially important in regards to LGBT refugees who do not enjoy the benefits of full citizenship or the privilege of stability because of their marginalized status as racialized and low-income refugees.  8"" In exploring how LGBT refugees narrate their stories of home and belonging, I approach home both on a material sense as well as an emotional and relational sense. This involves understanding first the pragmatic concerns or challenges LGBT refugees encounter in obtaining housing in Metro Vancouver. I explore not only challenges around safe and affordable housing, but also employment, access to social services, and community support. In interrogating questions around housing I ask what LGBT refuges’ experiences of home reveal about the socioeconomic and political constellations of power in Metro Vancouver and Canada that may limit LGBT refugees from being able to build a home for themselves. As we will see in this research, home is not restricted to a physical building. There are also the emotional and social aspects of home that equally effect a person’s sense of home and place. I am interested in what constitutes refugees’ sense of home and how they situate themselves in relation to home(s). How is memory involved in the processes of homemaking and what do their stories of home say about their attachments to place(s)? How is home involved in place-making and how is home attached to feelings of belonging? In exploring their stories and photographs I also explore how LGBT refugees’ identities are connected to their sense of home. In analyzing the participants’ stories and photographs, I explore how practices of relatedness serve as a vital element in their migration, asylum, and settlement processes. Relatedness involves not only the various emotional, personal, and material attachments LGBT refugees create with different people and places, but also the relationships they have and create with their bodies. Relatedness expands and contracts in this work outside of heteronormative, biological kinship structures to consider how people relate and attach themselves to persons, places, and objects through affect, memory, place, embodiment, and intimacy. These attachments inform LGBT refugees’ sense of home and belonging. Relatedness also serves as a window. 9""Through participants’ perceptions of relatedness, I explore the material, structural, and social worlds LGBT refugees must navigate in their everyday lives. All of the participants approached relatedness in multiple ways, but within each narrative and collection of photographs, I saw a dominant theme of relatedness emerge. These themes were (1) relatedness with place,  (2) relatedness with body, and (3) relatedness with partners. Place involves the relationships that participants created with the places around them in Metro Vancouver and aspects of place-making or creating a place for themselves. Body refers to the relationships the participants had to their bodies, and, more importantly, the desire to have control over their bodies in regards to gender expression. Partners refers to the intimate relationships the participants had or currently have with their significant partners and how these informed their sense of home and belonging. These three themes are dominant threads in the narratives and photographs. I decided to structure my thesis along these threads in order to further interrogate relatedness to place, body, and partners. The thesis is divided into three sections, (1) Place, Chapter Three: “Place-Making in Between Two (Un)Homey Places. The Intersections of Race, Sexuality, Gender, Age, and Class in Homing for Racialized Gay Refugees”; (2) Body, Chapter Four: “The Body as a Site for Homecoming. Experiences of Home and Belonging for Trans Refugees”; and (3) Partners, Chapter Five: “Home Is Where We Are Together. The Intersections of Intimacy, Citizenship, and Domesticity in Queer Refugee Couples’ Experiences of Home and Belonging.” Within each section, each of three chapters focuses on the stories and photographs of one of the participants (except section 3, where one chapter focuses on two participants together as a couple).    10""1.1  What Initially Led Me to Research    Home and Belonging for LGBT Refugees   Devran: So why are you interested in us?    Kat: Well, I want to learn about LGBT refugees’ experiences of settlement in Vancouver.  There’s so much that needs be known.    Devran: Okay, but why you, specifically? Like, why are you interested in gay refugees  like me?     Kat: That’s a good question. Do you have an hour to listen?   Devran: [Laughs] For you, always. (Interview with Devran, May 20, 2013)    The above dialogue comes from a conversation I had with Devran, a gay refugee from the  Middle East. My interest in LGBT refugees’ experiences of home and belonging in Metro Vancouver stems from the experiences I gained as a queer oral historian and LGBT activist. I was raised in the presence of working-class Latino, black, and white gay men and trans women in my hometown of Saginaw, Michigan. Their tenacity, bravery, and creativity led them to perform in various small rural and inner-city bars along the Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw highways as drag performers and artists. My grandmother and mother would spend many of their nights helping my “aunts” prepare for performances by applying their makeup and sewing their dresses. I cherish the stories my mother told me about them. Poverty, racial segregation, homophobia, HIV, and AIDS sadly cut their lives short. Their stories and the vibrant social world they created were never recorded and preserved for future generations. They lie in the memories of those left behind. As each year passes, we lose another queer elder and the memories they carry with them of those who have already passed. The tragedy of losing these important stories has stayed with me and led me to be interested in preserving the oral histories of LGBT communities. I wanted 11""queer lives and magic to be preserved and remembered for future generations. As I grew older, I experienced gay bashing and gender violence as a queer woman, which led me to become a grassroots activist focussed on LGBT rights. My activism allowed me to travel throughout the United States and eventually to Central and Western Europe to participate in LGBT pride parades and work on the ground with local LGBT activists.   It was through these experiences that I first learned about individuals claiming asylum based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In Hungary, I worked with LGBT Roma activists to combat racism and homophobia within Europe. Several of the LGBT Roma activists I worked with talked about claiming asylum in Canada because of the persecution they faced on account of their ethnicity and sexual orientation. I learned from them how race, class, gender, and sexuality intersected in their lives and left them not only persecuted in mainstream Hungarian society, but also marginalized within the broader white LGBT European community. I was confronted not only with the racial privilege that allowed me to pass as “European,” but also my privilege of U.S. citizenship, which allowed me to enter and exit Europe and North America with relative ease. I heard from LGBT Roma colleagues about how Canada offered a chance for protection from the racism and homophobia they experienced in their daily lives. However, the financial cost and safety risk to get to Canada were significant. Few of the activists I worked with had the financial means and social support to make such a risky move. It was also during this time that Canada created mandatory visa requirements for persons coming from the Czech Republic, further limiting LGBT Romas’ chances to seek asylum.9  """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""9 In 2009, Canada imposed a visa republic for travellers coming from the Czech Republic in an effort to stop the flow of Roma refugees coming into Canada and making refugee claims. The visa requirement was removed in 2013. The Czech Republic is on the list of Designated Countries of Origin (DCO), along with Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. Recently, the Canadian state has placed billboards in major city centres in Hungary to warn against making a refugee 12"" This experience stayed with me. I would come to understand more about states’ control of migrants’ bodies through sexuality, gender, and race during my 2008–2010 ethnographic and oral history research on lesbian social spaces in Amsterdam. Spending most of my time in historic lesbian bars and attending lesbian parties in Amsterdam, I experienced a growing anti-refugee and migrant sentiment within these spaces. This sentiment was tied to a larger anti-refugee and migrant discourse happening in mainstream Dutch society. Dutch politicians and popular media were calling incoming refugees and migrants from Muslim-majority countries like Turkey and Morocco potential terrorist threats (Haritaworn, 2012) who were not only a threat to national security, but also a danger to the Netherlands’ tolerance of sexual and gender minorities. Even the socially conservative Dutch politician Gert Wilders painted Muslim refugees as threats to the safety and wellbeing of LGBT communities in the Netherlands (de Jong, 2015). Prominent white lesbian and gay Dutch activists and scholars came dangerously close to repeating this rhetoric by voicing their concerns about incoming Muslim refugees and the need to protect “our queer communities” from Islam’s homophobic beliefs. I saw the stark contrast between my privileged status as a white Western queer activist-researcher and that of racialized queer refugees and migrants from the Middle East. Unlike refugees who were fleeing state and public persecution and seeking asylum in the Netherlands, I was a celebrated immigrant based on my education, my whiteness, and my U.S. citizenship. My skin colour allowed me to pass as a Dutch citizen on the street. My U.S. citizenship and educational background granted me privilege in finding employment, education, and housing. Racialized refugees and migrants coming from the Middle East were constantly harassed at the Dutch border and on the street. They faced daily """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""claim in Canada. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has also increased screening of travellers coming from Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, and the Czech Republic in order to deter persons from coming into Canada and making refugee claims (Kueng, 2015). 13""discrimination in employment, education, and housing. Whereas no one questioned my acceptance of LGBT human rights, refugees and migrants coming from Muslim-majority countries were automatically seen as the threatening “Other,” bringing with them homophobia and transphobia. The intertwining of nationalistic, colonial, and racist agendas by the Dutch state and the LGBT rights movement reminded me of similar rhetoric around protecting women’s rights in the United States post–September 11, 2001, and the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq (Thobani, 2012). It made me realize how important it was to be vigilant about how the LGBT rights agenda was being co-opted by the state to oppress others and reinforce its national borders. It made me critical of the lesbian and gay communities I belonged to and the underlying xenophobia within.   I learned more about LGBT refugee asylum in Canada during the first year of my PhD program in 2011, when I organized an event at the Liu Institute for Global Issues with the Ugandan lesbian activist and scholar Val Kalende to discuss the impending anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda. Rainbow Refugee volunteers attended the event and spoke about upcoming changes to the refugee process that would severely limit LGBT refugee claimants’ ability to have a fair and just refugee process. The presenters from Rainbow Refugee were referencing Bill C-31, which was implemented in December 2012. Bill C-31, now known as Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA), drastically shortened the refugee process from one or two years to four months. The bill also created a list of designated countries that were deemed to be safe and non–refugee producing. Asylum-seekers coming from the designated countries had an even shorter refugee process (three months) and no right to appeal a negative decision. PCISA also gave the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) more power to arbitrarily detain and deport asylum-seekers. Remembering the lessons I learned from LGBT 14""Roma activists and the anti-refugee sentiment I experienced in the Netherlands, I wanted to support Rainbow Refugee raise awareness about Bill C-31. I worked with Rainbow Refugee and other refugee activists to organize a widely attended public forum on the impending asylum legislation changes in May 2012.10    The time I spent with Rainbow Refugee volunteers and LGBT refugee members made me want to stay involved and become a volunteer. It was volunteering with Rainbow Refugee and talking with Rainbow Refugee’s board members that led me to change my research focus from the oral history of gay and lesbian activists abroad to the oral histories of LGBT refugees within Canada. I discovered very quickly that Canada was far from the safe haven I had believed. As much as Canada provides LGBT refugees protection from persecution, the state inflicts its own violence on LGBT asylum-seekers through its restrictive asylum process and the cutting of social support directed to LGBT in-land refugees (Harris & Zuberi, 2015; Diop, 2014; Vinokur, 2015; Hari, 2014; Ratkovic, 2013; Dawson, 2014; Marwah, 2014; Warmington & Lin, 2014). LGBT refugees also experience discrimination in finding employment, education, and housing based on their race, sexuality, class, and gender (Brotman & Lee, 2011). LGBT refugees must navigate structural, social, economic, and political barriers in order to settle in Canada and build homes for themselves.  Too often, media attention on LGBT forced migration focuses primarily on the refugees’ countries of origin and the causes for migration (Jenicek & Wong, 2009). It is also important to critically investigate the processes, discourses, and structures of settlement in the places they migrate to. Or, to put it another way, one must ask not only where refugees have come from, but also where they have come to (Haig-Brown, 2011). By focusing only on LGBT refugees’ """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""10 To watch a video of the “Right to Seek Refuge” event, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUVrBgeYTM0 15""experiences in their countries of origin, we lose sight of what happens to LGBT refugees once they are resettled in their adopted countries. This has particular significance in settler states like Canada, where research on refugee and forced migration largely ignores the history of colonization that has made settlement possible through the forced occupation of First Nations territories and controlling incoming immigrant groups defined by gender, race, class, ability, and sexuality (Haig-Brown, 2011; Razack, 2002). As I show in the next section, Metro Vancouver holds an important place in the history of refugee migration and asylum policy in Canada.   1.2  Refugee Settlement in Vancouver, British Columbia    and The Challenges Faced by LGBT Refugees   Figure 1.1 Map of Metro Vancouver (Source: Created Using Map Creator).   16""  Metro Vancouver refers to the Greater Vancouver area, which encompasses twenty-one districts, including Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, and Coquitlam (Metro Vancouver, 2015). As the western hub for migration into and out of Canada, Metro Vancouver serves a critical nexus for refugee asylum and settlement (Hyndman & Mclean, 349). Immigration from outside of Canada is the primary source of Metro Vancouver’s population growth (Sandercock & Attili, 2009). For the past thirty years, refugee immigration in Canada has been highly centralized to urban areas. More than seventy-five per cent of refugees coming into Canada settle in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal. The City of Vancouver alone receives more than twenty per cent of all immigrants and refugees. Of those who immigrate to British Columbia, eighty-nine per cent live in Metro Vancouver (Hyndman & Mclean, 2006, 346). In comparison to Quebec and Ontario, which receive larger percentages of Canada’s total refugee claims, British Columbia receives a higher-than-average number of in-land refugee claims compared to government-assisted claims (Rehaag, 2012).  Vancouver is the most densely populated city in the Metro Vancouver area, with the wealthiest residential districts in Canada located in the West End and the western suburbs surrounding the University of British Columbia (Kerrisdale, West Point Grey, Kitsilano, Dunbar). Vancouver houses the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) for British Columbia and the majority of settlement services for Metro Vancouver. The area also holds a significant place in the history of immigration and refugee settlement in Canada. Metro Vancouver serves as the terminus of the modern Canadian state. Settlers did not start arriving in large numbers until the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1880s (Sandercock & Attili, 2009; Kelley & Trebilcock, 1998). The colonization of what would become the Metro Vancouver area by the first white settlers resulted in a displacement of the first inhabitants, the Coast Salish peoples. 17""Canada’s white settler policy of ensuring an Anglo-Saxon settler majority resulted in the near erasure of the Coast Salish peoples from the physical land of Metro Vancouver through forced displacement, loss of sovereignty, and eugenic policies (Sandercock & Attili, 2009; Regan, 2006). Despite the efforts by the Canadian state to remove and eradicate Coast Salish peoples, many Coast Salish communities continue to resist against erasure and live in the Metro Vancouver area. Fighting for their traditional territory has remained a challenge, especially because of the years of structural violence and social inequality that have caused a large percentage of Coast Salish communities to live in poverty. Despite this oppression, Coast Salish communities maintain vocal and active resistance against income inequality and violence against First Nations people in Metro Vancouver and throughout Canada. Sovereignty over their territories remains the upmost priority for First Nations communities in Metro Vancouver.  The provincial and federal governments’ active continued efforts to erase and remove First Nations communities across Canada went together with the regulation of incoming immigration on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexuality (Sandercock & Attili, 2009; Abu-Laban, 1998; Jiwani, 2006; McDonald, 1996). Immigrants coming from non-European countries, particularly China and India, were faced with repressive and racist immigration restrictions such as the Chinese Head Tax and denial of entry for South Asian wives and children (Shah, 2011; Anderson, 1991; Baldwin, Cameron, & Kobayashi, 2011; Valverde, 2008; Fuller & Vosko, 2008). In 1914, the Komagata Maru steamship, carrying 376 refugees from Punjab, British-controlled India, was denied entry to Canada (Johnston, 2014; Srikanth, 2002). The passengers were Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu Indian refugees escaping ethnic and religious persecution under British colonial rule. Canada’s immigration policy at the time allowed the Vancouver 18""immigration officers to force the refugees back onto the steamship to return to Punjab. Many of the passengers died on the return journey, and several were arrested and killed after arriving in Punjab. The Komagata Maru incident would later be seen as a national disgrace and a rallying point for refugee immigration reform (Srikanth, 2002).  The Komagata Maru incident was just one of a series in Metro Vancouver in which non-European refugees were denied entry (Silverman, 2014). Until the 1967 immigration reform, which removed many of the racial restrictions on immigration, and the adoption of the UN Convention for Refugees in 1969, the majority of asylum seekers allowed into Canada and given refugee status came from Western and Central Europe. In 1971, Canada became the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism into its official policy. Multiculturalism began as a bicultural and bilingual compromise between the dominant French- and English-speaking communities. Canada’s multiculturalist policies eventually evolved and expanded to include non-European immigrant communities, allowing individuals the right to retain their cultural practices instead of forcing them to assimilate into the dominant white settler culture (Boyd, 2012; Ray & Peake, 2001). The adoption of multiculturalism into Canadian immigration policy led to the creation of new social services for immigrants and anti-discriminatory policies for immigration and asylum. One very important consequence of the changing immigration and asylum policies in the late 1960s was the rise of non-European immigration to Metro Vancouver, especially from East and South Asia. Since the 1970s, Metro Vancouver has served as Canada’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific region for finance and investment, travel, and tourism. The Vietnam War and subsequent Cold War conflicts brought a new wave of refugees to Metro Vancouver from South and East Asia and the Middle East. Unlike their European refugee counterparts, these refugees were 19""routinely referred to and depicted in the media as frivolous refugee claimants abusing Canada’s asylum processes (Silverman, 2014). The creation of the IRB in 1988 brought in more restrictions to streamline asylum processes and discourage “frivolous claims” (Silverman, 2014; di Tomasso, 2012; Li 2002; Bradimore & Bauder, 2012; Olsen et al., 2014).   Over the next decade, Canada’s refugee system expanded to include refugees claiming asylum based on sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, and gender and domestic violence. Until the late 1970s, sexual minorities were denied entry to Canada. Following the 1977 removal of the ban on homosexuals’ immigrating and the adoption of same-sex sponsorship in 2002, more lesbian and gay individuals and queer families entered and gained permanent residency in Canada (LaViolette, 2004; White 2010, 2014)."Lesbian, gay, and trans individuals are protected from discrimination by the Canadian Charter of Human Rights. In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in (A.G.) v. Ward that within Canadian refugee law, sexual orientation is included in the parameters of a “particular social group” under the 1951 UN Convention of the Status of Refugees (LaViolette, 1997). Canada remains one of the top countries for LGBT refugee-resettlement in the West and maintains a higher average of positive decisions for persons claiming asylum based on sexual orientation and gender identity than do Western Europe, the United States, or Australia. The city of Vancouver secured its international reputation as a gay tourist destination with the celebration of the 1990 International Gay Games, which highlighted Vancouver’s growing gay district, Davie Village. In 1999, the city recognized Davie Village as the official gay village of Vancouver (Ingram, 2010; Borbridge, 2007).   Canada’s history of acceptance of LGBT refugees has received greater international attention in the past five years with the rise of new anti-homosexual legislation and queer persecution in countries like Russia, Iraq, and Uganda. In response to the 2012 anti-20""homosexuality legislation implemented in Uganda and Russia, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper voiced Canada’s moral commitment to the protection of human rights for sexual and gender minorities. Following Harper’s statements, former Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney confirmed Canada’s commitment to helping LGBT asylum-seekers:  As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, I believe that Canada should always be a place of refuge for those who truly need our protection. That is why we continue to welcome those fleeing persecution, which oftentimes includes certain death, including on the basis of sexual orientation. (Kenney, 2012)11  In 2013, and again in 2015, Chris Alexander, the subsequent Minister of Immigration, reiterated Canada’s commitment to LGBT refugees by stating that LGBT refugees fleeing countries that criminalize sexuality and gender identity would be looked upon favourably by the Canadian state. Canada’s vocal commitment to the plight of LGBT refugees has garnered the country an international reputation as a “safe haven” for LGBT asylum-seekers (Hari, 2014; Dawson, 2014).12   While Canada presents itself as a benevolent nation welcoming LGBT refugees with open arms, it has a long and troubled history of excluding undesirable asylum-seekers on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, and class (Diop, 2014). Although individuals are no longer officially restricted from entry on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexuality, the current immigration system does limit immigration on the basis of income, education, and professional """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""11 http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jason-kenney-s-mass-email-to-gay-and-lesbian-canadians-1.1207144  12 After the federal election of October 19, 2015, the Liberal party formed a majority government with Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister. The Conservative Party, led by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, became the official opposition after governing for nine years, the last five of them as a majority government. The recent change in government has led to some hope within the refugee and immigrant activist community for the dismantling of the more aggressive and restrictive policies against incoming refugees. At the moment of writing this dissertation, it is uncertain if some of the policy measures brought on by PCISA will be re-evaluated and/or removed.  21""experience. This has racial, class, gender, and sexual underpinnings, as only individuals who are economically and socially privileged can qualify for permanent residency and sponsorship of their families. Women, trans persons, sexual minorities, ethnic minorities, and working-class individuals must overcome greater obstacles in order to qualify for immigration, as they are given less opportunity to build up social resources, educational experience, and economic capital. Coming to Canada temporarily to work, visit, or study is also restricted by visa requirements and the limited supply of visas for individuals coming primarily from the Global South (Abu-Laban, 1998; Porter, 2015; Tannock, 2011; Lightman & Gingrich, 2012).   In 1999, cargo ships carrying nearly six hundred refugees from China arrived on Metro Vancouver’s shoreline. This event attracted nationwide media coverage and spurred public dialogue about Canada’s refugee system (Bradimore & Bauder, 2012; Silverman, 2014; Macintosh, 2012). The September 11, 2001, attacks in New York added further pressure for the Canadian government to increase border security and restrict immigration. This led to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) of 2001, which brought in stricter regulations on asylum and allowed for the arbitrary arrest and detainment of incoming asylum claimants (Dawson, 2014; Hari, 2014; Jantzi, 2015). Implementation of visa requirements and the Safe Third Country Agreement13 between the United States and Canada in 2009 discouraged forced migration from the Global South, especially Central and South America (Akibo-Betts, 2005). """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""13 The Safe Third Country Agreement between the United States and Canada requires refugee claimants to request refugee protection in the first safe country in which they arrive (United States or Canada), unless they qualify for an exception. The Safe Third Country Agreement came into effect December 29, 2004. Currently, the United States is the only country designated a safe third country by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. For more information on the Safe Third Country Agreement: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/laws-policy/menu-safethird.asp.  22""In 2010, on the ninety-fifth anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, a cargo ship carrying nearly five hundred Sri Lankan refugees arrived in Metro Vancouver. The Sri Lankan refugees were immediately placed into detention. Activists’ outcries over the treatment of the Sri Lankan refugees were overshadowed by the ensuing public discourse on the threat of bogus and criminal refugees abusing Canada’s refugee process (Bradimore & Bauder, 2012; Silverman, 2014). The media frenzy surrounding the incident helped spur the creation and implementation of Bill C-31, an amendment to the IRPA that on the one hand dramatically shortened the refugee process but on the other imposed legislation removing the right for appeal for individuals coming from designated countries. Bill C-31 also gave Canadian Border Services more authority to arbitrarily detain individuals coming in groups of three or more by land or sea. Bill C-31 imposed stricter fines on human smugglers and provided more funding for immigration officers abroad to stop refugees from coming into Canada (Showler, 2012; Diop, 2014; Zimmerman, 2011; “Refugee Health Cuts,” 2012; Levine-Rasky, 2012).14   In Canada’s current refugee climate, refugees are not only viewed not only as a threat to Canada’s national security, but depicted as abusers of Canada’s hospitality in popular media and political rhetoric (Dawson, 2014). Sherene Razack writes that asylum-seekers are seen to pose a threat to the dominance of Canada’s white heterosexual settler society as unsolicited and undesired subjects who take advantage of Canada’s hospitality and reputation for humanitarianism (2002)."At the same time that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""14 While the immigration reforms of the late 1970s removed immigration restrictions based on ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, their main aims were to attract highly skilled immigrants to Canada and reduce state expenses (Triadafilopoulos, 2013). The adoption of the competitive points system and the creation of new streams of immigration based on income and professional skill were based on the belief that the ideal immigrant to Canada was self-sufficient, personally responsible, and able to efficiently participate in the labour market (Boyd, 2012).  23""proclaiming Canada’s commitment to LGBT refugees, he was also warning about Canada’s “broken refugee system” and the threat of bogus refugees: Our generous asylum system has been abused by too many people making bogus refugee claims. Canadians take great pride in the generosity and compassion of our immigration and refugee programs. But they have no tolerance for those who abuse our generosity or take advantage of our country. (CIC, “Speaking Notes,” 2012)    Such framing allows the state to keep asylum-seekers out of the country and encourages the removal of social support for in-land refugees15 while promoting its reputation as a welcoming and safe country (Newman, 2004; Every, 2013). Soon after the implementation of Bill C-31, funding for in-land refugee programs and assistance was drastically cut, and additional changes to health coverage were introduced.16 These cuts were attempts to stop in-land refugees from “abusing” state resources (Sherrell, 2003; Francis, 2010, 2006; Miraftab, 2000). Organizations that primarily helped in-land refugee claimants in Metro Vancouver had their budgets reduced. The provincial Medical Services Plan (MSP) was cut for in-land refugee """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""15 Canada defines refugees as “people within or outside Canada who fear persecution and going back to their home country” (CIC, 2011). Persons who make refugee claims in Canada are labelled “landed” or “in-land” refugee claimants. An individual can make an in-land refugee claim either through a port of entry or at a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) office. Those making claims outside of Canada may be government-assisted refugees (GAR) or privately sponsored refugees.  16 The cuts to social support and health care after PCISA are another continuation of the neoliberal policies that started in the 1970s. The federal government transferred control of and responsibility for immigration and in-land refugee services to the provincial governments in the 1970s, causing significant differences in social services and settlement patterns across Canada (Hyndman & Mclean, 2006, 346; Sherrell, 2003). The 2004 Agreement for Canada–British Columbia Co-operation on Immigration (CBCCI) turned settlement services into a competitive process in which settlement services were pitted against other provincial and city social services and ranked for their quality and economic efficiency (Sherrell, 2003). As a result, funds allotted to health care, housing, and employment services for in-land refugees have steadily declined over the past decade (Francis, 2006, 59).  24""claimants, leaving them with only the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) (Stanbrook, 2014). The IFHP covers emergency hospitalization and restricted medical care as it relates to public health. Medications for diseases that are considered a public health risk are covered under the IFHP (including treatment for HIV and AIDS) (Interview with AIDS Vancouver, June 2013). Hormone medications and medications for anxiety, depression, and other mental health risk conditions are still not covered. Hormone, anxiety, and depression medications can cost more than a hundred dollars per month, a considerable burden for those on a limited income.17 Instead of providing protection to refugees, Canada’s current policy and public sentiment focus on protecting the state from refugees (Jantzi, 2015; Olsen et al., 2014; Hamlin, 2014). LGBT refugees coming from the Global South are stigmatized by the Canadian state and popular media as taking advantage of Canada’s refugee process. Labelling refugees as a threat to Canada’s security who take advantage of the country’s hospitality erases refugees’ voices from national discourses and consciousness (Dawson, 2014). This erasure translates into legitimating laws and institutional practices that drastically reduce actual numbers of successful refugees through increased border restrictions, arbitrary detentions, and forced deportations, and the cutting of critical social and health services for in-land refugees. Refugees are placed in positions of disempowerment, uncertainty, and isolation (Macklin, 2005; Dawson, 2014).   LGBT asylum seekers must overcome difficult odds to enter Canada and receive asylum on account of their marginalized position in society as sexual and gender minorities (Jordan, 2010). Within the in-land asylum process, LGBT refugees work with/against Western narratives of LGBT identities for recognition of their “‘membership in a particular social group,’ while """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""17 On February 18, 2016 several cuts to the IFHP were reversed. Refugee claimants now have access to having some of their prescription medication covered, such as medication for diabetes or blood pressure. These services are similar to what those receiving income assistance would receive. 25""their credibility is scrutinized” (Jordan, 2009, 166). However, unlike other “particular social groups” based on political or ethnic affiliations, the burden of proof of persecution for LGBT refugees relies almost entirely on their testimonies. David Murray (2014b) and Sharalyn Jordan (2009) write that the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) scrutinizes LGBT refugees as potentially fraudulent asylum-seekers. LGBT refugees must prove to a predominantly white, Western, heterosexual, and cisgender IRB that they fit the IRB’s definition of same-sex sexuality and gender variance. Cultural, gender, race, sexuality, and class differences are often erased in order for LGBT refugees to fit the IRB’s heteronormative and culturally biased conceptions about gender and sexuality (Murray, 2014b; Shuman & Hesford, 2014). The IRB’s scrutiny of sexuality and gender causes many LGBT refugee claimants to be rejected on account of IRB doubts about their credibility (Morrissey & Jordan, 2013; Gaucher & DeGagne, 2014).    In order to prove persecution, sexual and gender minority claimants may have to inferiorize and pathologize their ethnic communities and home countries (Murray, 2014b, 2015). This not only silences the complexity of sexual and gender minorities’ experiences, but also ignores how the Global North is implicated in the unequal economic, social, and political practices and discourses that contribute to the marginalization of and violence toward sexual and gender minorities in the Global South (Razack, 1996). The idea of Canada as a progressive and advanced country forces LGBT refugees to prove their desire for Canada’s protection as well as make a case for why they cannot be sent back to their countries of origin. LGBT refugees’ stories are pressured to present a falsely linear and singular narrative of fleeing from “backwards” and oppressive countries and seeking freedom and acceptance in Canada. By focusing on persecution outside of Canada, the IRB can conveniently overlook the violence that many racialized and Indigenous LGBT and two-spirit persons face within the country. The problem of violence 26""against sexual and gender minorities becomes a problem that is external to Canada. These scripts further support the Canadian state’s nationalistic and racist agendas around the restriction of immigration (Fobear, 2014) and ignore the everyday violence that LGBT communities face in Canada because of racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, and income inequality.    More research needs to be done to understand how sexuality and gender shape refugees’ experiences of migration and settlement (Lee & Brotman, 2011). Incorporating a queer theoretical lens in forced migration involves investigating how sexuality and gender are implicated in refugee migration and settlement processes (Luibhéid & Cantú, 2005). Queer theory deconstructs the supposed stability and naturalness of identity categories and norms around gender and sexuality (Epprecht, 2008). By interrogating how gender and sexual norms and identities are socially constructed, queer theory works to challenge underlying heteronormativity that places heterosexuality and cisnormativity18 as the natural state of being (Halperin, 1997). This is especially significant when refugees are all too often depicted as asexual or assumed to be heterosexual and cisgender in the majority of forced migration research (LaViolette, 2009). The underlying heteronormativity and cisnormativity in forced migration research not only silence the experiences of LGBT refugees, but also ignore how sexualized and gendered relations of power inform refugees’ migration and settlement (Razack, 2002). Andrew Gorman Murray (2007b) and Lionel Cantú (2009) write that sexuality and gender play a significant role in migration not only for sexual and gender minorities, but also for heterosexual migrants. State institutions normalize and naturalize heterosexuality and cisnormativity through immigration policies and procedures (Cantu, 2009, 14). The denial of same-sex partner """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""18 Cisnormativity refers to the assumption that all individuals have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned to at birth. Those whose gender identity does not match the sex and gender they were assigned to at birth are seen as deviant. 27""sponsorship and the strict enforcement of a binary gender system (male or female) in visa and citizenship documents are just some of the ways in which states regulate migration and settlement on the basis of gender and sexuality (Bieksa, 2011; Shuman & Hesford, 2014). Migration is itself a sexualized and gendered process in which certain bodies are given easier access to mobility because of the privilege they experience on the basis of their gender and sexuality (Manalansan & Cruz-Malave, 2002). Patriarchy and globalized inequality limit the mobility of women, trans persons, and sexual minorities. Trans, lesbian, and gay individuals not only have less advantage in gaining the social and economic reso