In this episode, we will pick up where we left off with Tankut Atuk and discuss sexualized and racialized deservingness of LGBTI refugees in Turkey. In the second episode, we discussed different ways in which Global North oriented categorizations of vulnerability have migrated to Turkey. We saw that they migrated in the form of project-based funding, and they are enacted through local NGOs. We also explained how these categories violently make space for their existence within local realities by transforming subjectivities of LGBTI refugees.
Now we will shift our focus to the concept of deservingness, and it is relations to vulnerability. Drawing upon my fieldwork, I will argue that being deserving of refugee status and rights is proved or performed via a continuous parody of vulnerability. I am calling it a parody, because, vulnerability here does not reflect the complexity of social and political exclusion LGBTI refugees face. Instead, vulnerability reflects only one or two essentialized feature of these exclusions -- i.e. the ones that speak to the sensibilities of UNHCR or countries in the Global North. Thus, this approach to vulnerability creates hierarchies within certain forms of social and political exclusions while ignoring others. It also means that being deserving of refugee status and rights depends on refugees’ ability to perform a Global North oriented parody of vulnerability.
For a written discussion of a similar topic, please have a look at my article "Who is 'Queerer' and Deserves Resettlement?: Queer Asylum Seekers and Their Deservingness of Refugee Status in Turkey".