Event Date: 19 June 2017
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck University of London
London WC1E 7HX
The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research presents:
‘We can’t live together like those faggots’. Cinematic Representation of Queer Migrants from Muslim-Majority Countries Living in Europe
Speaker: Gerard Coll-Planas (Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Gender, Universitat de Vic-Universitat Central de Catalunya)
Muslim immigrants play a central role in the debates about national identity, cultural belonging, and alterity. In these debates, sexuality, and especially homosexuality, is used to promote a representation of Islam as inherently homophobic. In this ideological context, queer migrants occupy an intersectional social location between Islamophobia and homophobia. In this paper we analyze the cinematic representation of queer migrants living in Europe coming from Asian Muslim-majority countries. The aim of the paper is to analyze whether the films reproduce a Western “gay narrative” or propose others of sexual and gender diversity.
The object of analysis is made up of 16 films that are set in European countries and portray queer migrants characters are from Pakistan, Turkey, Maghreb and Iran. The films are classified in three groups regarding their discourse. The first one reproduces an assimilationist discourse, promoting the idea that queer migrants should embrace a Western “gay narrative” and break with their families and the values of the communities of origin. The films of the second group incite an intercultural approach, establishing hybrid narratives in relation to sexual diversity that merge elements from both the country of residence and the cultural background of origin. The last group does not intend to create a realistic approach but a metaphorical one, where the queer migrant and his/her relationships are taken as political statements against homophobia and xenophobia.
Introduction by Professor Matt Cook (Birkbeck):