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Queer European Asylum Network (2019-present)

The Queer European Asylum Network (QUEAN) is an umbrella organization I co-founded in 2019 that brings together NGO practitioners, LGBTQI+ refugees and activists and academics working on LGBTQI+ migration and asylum in Europe. QUEAN is committed to putting the lived experience of queer asylum at the center of its approach. The aim of QUEAN is to support efforts towards establishing a more inclusive Common European Asylum System where the particular challenges LGBTQI+ persons face in terms of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and disability are considered in law and practice through sharing knowledge and policy engagement. At QUEAN we believe that solidarity, collaboration, awareness, and visibility can help to create pathways that lead towards a more inclusive asylum system and practice.
For more information about QUEAN, our events and policy work see  

Queer, trans, gay, and intersex asylum seekers belong to the least visible and most vulnerable group within Germany’s asylum system. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees does not separately register queer asylum cases and many queer/gay Muslim asylum seekers remain silent because of fear of homo- and transphobia. Based on the experiences of gay/queer Muslim asylum seekers in Germany, this study examines how access to asylum can be influenced by Westernized ideas about sexuality as well as anti-Muslim feeling. We will ensure the findings are useful to different groups, including community organisations and policymakers. They will be used to support the development of policies and politics that are based on a better understanding of the many different experiences of Muslim LGBTQI+ asylum seekers. The study will also challenge social attitudes about “the Muslim” and “the refugee” through working with artists and photographers and the launch of a podcast series. 

This study;

a) renders visible the experiences of LGBTQI asylum seekers with Muslim background within Germany’s asylum system.

b) uncovers the interconnection between European recognition of gay and lesbian refugees (not neces-sarily queer) and anti-Muslim migration practices and policies.

c) develops a set of grassroots strategies that will help the European Union as well as state and non-state actors to develop support mechanisms and policies based on a more nuanced understanding of the wide range of experiences of LGBTQI* asylum seekers.

Queer Muslim Spaces

Muslim Women's Rights Organizing in Lucknow, India (2008-2017)

Over the course of nine months of fieldwork, I explored current attempts by three ideologically different Sunni Muslim women’s organizations in Lucknow to create a space for claims regarding Muslim women’s rights and gender equality within the framework of Islam. My research intended to capture the manner in which ideas about gender justice and Islam “circulate” through the winding alleys of Lucknow’s Shia quarter, the influential Shariat-courts, the local mosques, the outdoor offices of Lucknow’s Family Court, the over-crowded court rooms, the offices of women activists, media outlets, and people’s home — and how they are understood in these places. The result is an urban ethnography that weaves an intrinsic pattern of Muslim women’s activism on the ground. This is structured by the activists’ individual biographies, their creative and innovative use of formal and social legalities and institutions and their ability to interpret and represent different versions of religion and conjugal life through their activism and everyday life.

For project related publications click here

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh


A Tribal Women's Court in Udaipur,India (2005-2006)

Back in November 2005, I set off to commence fieldwork for my master thesis in rural south Rajasthan, near Udaipur. There, I examined the ways women of the Meena community (re)negotiate patriarchal gender norms and women’s identities within an unusual tribal women’s court. Presided over by women, this court offers room for impoverished tribal women to articulate novel ideas of women’s rights in the area of marriage and the family within a women friendly environment. During my six months of fieldwork, I learned that for many tribal women, this informal court was the only place where their concerns in regard to domestic violence, marital rejection, polygamy, child custody, property, and maintenance were taken seriously. Then in contemporary India the sluggish and expensive state courts as well as the men-reserved community assemblies are generally more concerned with upholding of patriarchal values than with the socio-economic needs of tribal women as mothers, daughters, and wives. My research evinces that such a female legal-space could be particularly valuable for tribal women who are confronted with a predominantly men-dominated patriarchal legal context.

For project related publications click here

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