In Law and Practice: Understanding Exclusions in Citizenship and Migration through the Georgian LGTBQ Experience
Through the lived experiences of Georgian queer migrants, this thesis argues that the international and national refugee laws and practices are an essential starting point but remain weak and, in some cases, even exclusionary when it comes to protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQI) individuals. Specifically, this thesis documents the experiences of Georgian LGBTQ migrants to reveal the social, political, cultural, and economic factors in Georgia and recipient countries essential to shaping their experiences with belonging and protection. It critically explores how one’s LGBTQ identify shapes their sense of belonging in Georgia, how their identity played a direct role in deciding to migrate, and how queer migrants’ identities shape processes in migration and resettlement. Engaging the academic scholarship on citizenship and migration, this thesis contributes new insights for understanding how international and national institutions and laws overlap to create a restrictive regime that forces Georgian migrants to navigate asylum by detaching their claims from their persecution as LGBTQI individuals. Through centering the experiences LGBTQI, this thesis reveals injustices and harms as well as possible top-down legal remedies to improve identity-based protections in national anti-discrimination law and international asylum law.