Queer migrants in Iceland: outness, identity and belonging
Linda Sólveigar Guðmundsdóttir
(University of Iceland)
Paper short abstract:
This paper is based on a research which examines queer migrants' experiences of living in Iceland, and places them in a global and historical perspective. The study also examines participants' degree of outness, identity construction and sense of belonging.
Paper long abstract:
Significant legal advancements have taken place in Iceland in recent decades, regarding various issues relating to LGBTQ people, parallel to a dramatic change in general attitudes towards this particular minority group. Immigration has increased extensively over the past fifteen years in Iceland and despite the economic collapse, the number of residents with foreign citizenship has only decreased slightly. This paper discusses preliminary findings, based on a research which seeks to examine whether living in Iceland makes it easier for queer migrants to deal with their sexual orientation. It analyses how issues relating to participants' gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality and class overlap and shape their experiences, through the migration process and their daily life. Additionally, the research examines participants' sense of belonging to various groups within Icelandic society. Wekker (2006) maintains that it is necessary to take seriously the complexity, diversity and questions of power within LGBTQ cultures, and take into account the possibility that queer migrants might choose forms of sexual freedom that deviate from 'normative' representation. This research is based on theories of intersectionality, bifocality, whiteness, identity management and belonging, as well as on writings on queer migration and queer diaspora. Participants are individuals of various national origins who identify themselves in some way as queer or at least as non-heterosexuals, and are first generation migrants living in Iceland. The study combines the fields of queer studies and migration studies, which is a novelty in the Icelandic context.
Same-sex sexualities and ethnic minorities in Europe (Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality and the European Network for Queer Anthropology)