Legalizing Sexuality: Canadian Refugee Law, Queer Bodies & the National Imaginary

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Mann, Joshua




Contemporary discourse on queer refugees expose continued systematic criminalization, discrimination and persecution that is reinforced through notions of inclusion and exclusion. The fear of persecution contributes to asylum seekers moving across political boundaries and confronting borders protecting the national imaginary of the state. This project explores the relationship between law and identity as it pertains to sexual orientation-based refugee claims in Canada. The theoretical frameworks of critical queer theory, critical feminist theory, and homonationalism illuminate the ways in which queer identities and practices are legally categorized to construct and protect the national imaginary. Fundamental flaws within the refugee apparatus coincide with assumed categories of sexual orientation and gender in legislation and case law, revealing interwoven relations of power. Through law, the state defines the space of habitation where layers of identity categories establish exclusion. Those excluded from the national imaginary are vulnerable to the dangers of discrimination and persecution.


Gender Studies
Cultural Anthropology




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Legal Studies

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Theses and Dissertations

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