Migrations in Intersection with Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity

The first round table was organised in cooperation with Kiberkino and Ljubljana Pride and was entitled “Migrations in Intersection with Sexual Orientation and Sexual Identity”. It was attended by Eva Gračanin, head of the youth program at the Legebitra Information Centre Association, Neža Kogovšek Šalamon, Director of the Peace Institute, Dr. Ana Kralj, Research Associate at the University of Primorska Science and Research Centre and Assistant Professor at the Koper Faculty of Humanities, and Dr. Mojca Pajnik, Research Associate at the Peace Institute and Assistant Professor at the Chair of Media Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences. The discussion was led by Danijela Zajc.

During the first part of the round table, the participants talked about female migration and rejected the stereotypical view that the reason behind it is always men and going after them. They pointed out that female migrants are too often overlooked. Women migrants usually gravitate towards the feminised sectors of care work, cleaning and catering, which are rather private in nature. Their working environment is more or less invisible, which often leads to exploitation and slavery. Seeing migrant manual workers on construction sites, roads etc. allows us at least a partial insight into their situation, whereas female workers remain hidden from the public view. It is difficult to draw attention to a problem if the problem cannot be seen.

The second part of the discussion focused on the rights of migrant same-sex couples within the EU. One of the important rights advocated by the EU is the principle of free movement. Due to the lack of harmonised legislation on the recognition of same-sex partnerships, the right to free movement is frequently violated when it comes to same-sex partners. In accordance with the principle of free movement, the partner of a person who migrates for work, e.g., should have the possibility to join him or her and have the same rights regarding health care and the recognition of the parent-child relationship etc. as heterosexual partners. The question is therefore: what happens to a married/unmarried homosexual couple and/or their adopted child if the country that they move to does not recognize same-sex marriage/partnership/adoption? Every country solves this problem individually.

Sometimes the reason for migration is persecution by the state or intimidation by family members and acquaintances due to homosexuality or transsexuality. If people feel threatened, they can apply for asylum and the credibility of their statements will be checked. Unfortunately, however, cases are rarely addressed substantively and too much attention is devoted to trifles, which prolong and hinder the processes.

Transnational laws establishing rights often collide with very powerful national ideologies that prevent migration, particularly in the case of LGBT people, who thus face double discrimination – due to xenophobia and homophobia.