Latin American Anthropology Seminar - Asylum on the Basis of Sexual Orientation

Asylum on the basis of Sexual Orientation: An Anthropological Study in the City of São Paulo, Brazil

Vítor Lopes Andrade, University of Sussex

Convenor: Jessica Sklair (Cambridge)

Since 2002, Brazil has been granting refugee status for foreign people with the founded fear of being persecuted in their countries of origin because of their sexual orientation. The general objective of this research was to analyse the social networks established/activated by these non-heterosexual asylum claimants and refugees once they were in the city of São Paulo, that is, to delineate a morphology of the social networks constituted by them. An ethnographic field research was carried out in the city of São Paulo in 2016, which was possible through the volunteering in a non-governmental organisation. The results showed that the non-heterosexuality is disclosed only in strategic moments, such as when it is the only reason to justify the asylum claim. The fear of being persecuted because of one’s sexual orientation by people from the same country of origin and other asylum claimants persists in Brazil, which results in the continuing hiding of non-heterosexual asylum claimants and refugees’ sexualities. These asylum claimants and refugees do not constitute a social network among themselves and do not take part in the national LGBT support networks in São Paulo. In this sense, it is possible to conclude that they find a more favourable and receptive atmosphere for their sexual orientations in Brazil compared to their countries of origin, but they keep on living through the logic of silence and invisibility.

Date: 12 November 2020