Unpacking the Meanings of a 'Normal Life' Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Eastern European Migrants in Scotland
This article explores the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) migrants from Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in Scotland. Drawing on interviews with 50 migrants, the article focuses on the experiences and aspirations which they articulate as being part of 'a normal life', and analyses them within broader conceptual understandings of security and 'normality'. We first examine how normality is equated with an improved economic position in Scotland, and look at the ways in which this engenders feelings of emotional security and well-being. We then explore how more positive experiences around sexuality and gender identity are key to a sense of emotional security - i.e. of feeling accepted as 'normal', being visible as an LGBT person but 'blending in' rather than standing out because of it. Finally we look at the ways in which the institutional framework in Scotland, in particular the presence of LGBT-affirmative legislation, is seen by participants to have a normalising effect within society, leading to a broader sense of inclusion and equality - found, again, to directly impact upon participants' own feelings of security and emotional well-being. The article engages with literatures on migration and sexuality and provides an original contribution to both: through its focus upon sexuality, which remains unexplored in debates on 'normality' and migration in the UK; and by bringing a migration perspective to the debates in sexuality studies around the normalising effect of the law across Europe. By bringing these two perspectives together, we reveal the inter-relationship between sexuality and other key spheres of our participants' lives in order to better understand their experiences of migration and settlement. (original abstract)
- Ayoub P., Kollmann K. (2017), Teaching Old Democracies New Tricks: Same-Sex Unions and the Power of Social Learning. Paper presented at the 5th European Conference on Politics and Gender, University of Lausanne, 8-10 June.
- Ayoub P., Patrenotte D. (eds) (2014), LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe: A Rainbow Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
- Binnie J., Klesse C. (2013), 'Like a Bomb in the Gasoline Station': East-West Migration and Transnational Activism Around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Politics in Poland. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39(7): 1107-1124.
- Boston N. (2014), Weak Pegs: The Media's Discourse on Homophobia and Polish Migration to the United Kingdom. Online: http://councilforeuropeanstudies.org/critcom/weak-pegs-the-medias-discou... (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- Browne K., Bakshi L. (2013), Ordinary in Brighton? LGBT, Activisms and the City. London: Routledge.
- Burrell K. (2010), Staying, Returning, Working and Living: Key Themes in Current Academic Research Undertaken in the UK on Migration Movements from Eastern Europe. Social Identities 16(3): 297-308.
- Butler J. (2004), Undoing Gender. London: Routledge.
- Carroll A. (2016), State-Sponsored Homophobia: A World Survey of Sexual Orientation Laws: Criminalisation, Protection and Recognition (11th edition), Brussels: International Lesbian, Gay, Sexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Online: http://ilga.org/what-we-do/state-sponsored-homophobia-report/ (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- Drinkwater S., Eade J., Garapich M. (2009), Poles Apart? EU Enlargement and the Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants in the United Kingdom. International Migration 47(1): 161-190.
- Galasińska A. (2010), Leavers and Stayers Discuss Returning Home. Internet Discourse on Migration in the Context of Post-Communist Transformation. Social Identities 16(3): 309-324.
- Galasińska A., Kozłowska O. (2009), Discourse of a Normal Life Amongst Post-Accession Migrants from Poland to Britain, in: K. Burrell (ed.), Polish Migration to the UK in the New European Union After 2004, pp. 87-106. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Gawlewicz A. (2016), Language and Translation Strategies in Researching Migrant Experience of Difference from the Position of Migrant Researcher. Qualitative Research 16(1): 27-42.
- Goffman E. (1959/1990), The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Penguin.
- Goffman E. (1963/1990), Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. London: Penguin.
- Goffman, E. (1971), Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order. New York: Basic Books.
- Goffman, E. (1974), Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organisation of Experience. New York:
- Harper and Row.Graham C. (2007), Gay Poles Head for UK to Escape State Crackdown. The Guardian, 1 July, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jul/01/gayrights.uk.
- Guardian (2015), Scotland Tops League for Gay Rights. The Guardian, 10 May, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/10/scotland-tops-league-for-g....
- Harrison J. (2016), Scotland 'Most Gay-Friendly Country in Europe'. The Herald, 16 May, http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14483562.Scotland___39_most_gay_frien....
- Heaphy B., Smart C., Einarsdottir A. (2013), Same Sex Marriages: New Generations, New Relationships. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- ILGA-Europe (2015), Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe. Online: http://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/Attachments/01_full_annua... (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- ILGA-Europe (2016a), Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe. Online: http://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/Attachments/annual_review... (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- ILGA-Europe (2016b), Rainbow Europe Map. Online: http://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/Attachments/side_a_rainbo... (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- Kollman K., Paternotte D. (2013), Regulating Intimate Relationships in the European Polity: Same-Sex Unions and Policy Convergence. Social Politics 20(4): 510-533.
- Lopez Rodriguez M. (2010), Migration and a Quest for 'Normalcy'. Polish Migrant Mothers and the Capitalization of Meritocratic Opportunities in the UK. Social Identities 16(3): 339-358.
- Lulle A., King R. (2015), Ageing Well: The Time-Spaces of Possibility for Older Female Latvian Migrants in the UK. Social and Cultural Geography 17(3): 444-462.
- Mai N., King R. (2009), Love, Sexuality and Migration: Mapping the Issue(s), Mobilities 4(3): 295-307.
- McGhee D., Heath S., Trevena P. (2012), Dignity, Happiness and Being Able to Live a 'Normal Life' in the UK - An Examination of Post-Accession Polish Migrants' Transnational Autobiographical Fields. Social Identities 18(6): 711-727.
- Misztal B. (2001), Normality and Trust in Goffman's Theory of the Interaction Order. Sociological Theory 19(3): 312-324.
- Morokvasic M. (2004), Settled in Mobility: Engendering Post-Wall Migration in Europe. Feminist Review 77(1): 7-25.
- Paterson K. (2015), 'Enlightened' Culture Attracts LGB People to Move to Scotland. The National, 3 December, http://www.thenational.scot/news/enlightened-culture-attracts-lgb-people....
- Piekut A., Valentine G. (2016), Unpacking Prejudice: Narratives of Homophobia in Cross-National Context, in: U. Vieten, G. Valentine (eds), Cartographies of Difference: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Living with Difference, pp. 15-40. Oxford: Peter Lang.
- Rabikowska M. (2010), Introduction: Negotiation of Normality and Identity Among Migrants from Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom After 2004. Social Identities 16(3): 285-296.
- Richardson D. (2004), Locating Sexualities: From Here to Normality. Sexualities 7(4): 391-411.
- Richardson D. (2015), Rethinking Sexual Citizenship. Sociology 5(2): 208-224.
- Ryan L. (2010), Becoming Polish in London: Negotiating Ethnicity Through Migration. Social Identities 16(3): 359-376.
- Scottish Government (2016), The Impacts of Migrants and Migration into Scotland. Online: www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00508814.pdf (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- Siara B. (2009), UK Poles and the Negotiation of Gender and Ethnic Identity in Cyberspace, in: K. Burrell (ed.), Polish Migration to the UK in the 'New' European Union After 2004, pp. 149-166. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Stella F. (2015), Intimate Migrations. Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Migrants in Scotland: Preliminary Findings Report. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Online: https://intimatemigrations.net/outputs/ (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- Stella F., Nartova N. (2015), Sexual Citizenship, Nationalism and Biopolitics in Putin's Russia, in: F. Stella, Y. Taylor, T. Reynolds, A. Rogers (eds), Sexuality, Citizenship and Belonging, pp. 24-42. London: Routledge.
- Stella F., Gawlewicz A., Flynn M. (2016), Intimate Migrations: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Migrants in Scotland. Project Report. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Online: https://intimatemigrations.net/outputs/ (accessed: 23 June 2017).
- Stychin C. (2003), Governing Sexuality: The Changing Politics of Citizenship and Law Reform. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
- Trevena P., McGhee D., Heath S. (2013), Location, Location? A Critical Examination of Patterns and Determinants of Internal Mobility Among Post-Accession Polish Migrants in the UK. Population, Space and Place 19(6): 671-687.
- Valentine G., Harris C. (2016), Encounters and (In)Tolerance: Perceptions of Legality and the Regulation of Space. Social and Cultural Geography 17(7): 913-932.
- von Benda-Beckmann F., von Benda-Beckmann K. (1994), Coping with Insecurity: An 'Underall' Perspective on Social Security in the Third World. Focaal 22/23: 7-31.
- von Benda-Beckmann F., von Benda-Beckmann K., Casiño E., Hirtz F., Woodman G., Zacher H. (eds) (1988), Between Kinship and the State: Law and Social Security in Developing Countries. Dordrecht: Foris Publications.
- White N. (2016), Population of the UK by Country of Birth and Nationality: 2015. London: Office for National Statistics. Online: www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/inter... (accessed: 23 June 2017).