Ep 6: Queer and Trans African Mobilities
B Camminga speaks of the hardship, struggle, resilience and hope of queer experiences of migration and displacement within and from Africa.
What is distinct about LGBTQ experiences of migration and displacement within and from the African continent? How does the current system of international protection cater for the difficulties and discriminations faced by border-crossing sexual and gender minorities?
In a wide-ranging, in-depth interview conducted last November, Dr B Camminga addresses these questions to identify some of the key emergent challenges confronting humanitarians and policymakers engaged in governing international mobility. Drawing upon their own work and that of other leading researchers, Camminga provides a much-needed, accessible overview of some of the diverse scenarios described by the latest fieldwork across numerous countries and contexts. From Morocco to South Africa, Kenya to Gabon, a complex mosaic of diverse scenarios and trajectories is sketched – one that nonetheless contains discernable patterns shaped by colonial histories and contemporary legal, political, and constitutional developments.
Marked by stories of hardship and struggle, but also resilience and hope, this body of knowledge accords little with Eurocentric portraits of Africa as a barbarous, backward zone of undifferentiated homophobia. At the same time, it reveals an underlying reality that policymakers must urgently address: when it comes to the basic rights and needs of LGBTQ individuals and communities, the current system of international protection is badly failing, particularly (but not only) in camps, where the plight of trans people in particular can be desperate and isolating.
B Camminga (they/them) is a fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin, and a research associate at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of Witwatersrand. They work on issues relating to gender identity and expression on the African continent with a focus on transgender migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Their first monograph, Transgender Refugees and the Imagined South Africa, received the 2019 Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies (with Aren Azuira) and honourable mention in the Ruth Benedict Prize for Queer Anthropology. They are a co-convenor of the African LGBTQI+ Migration Research Network (ALMN), which aims to advance scholarship on all facets of LGBTQI+ migration on, from, and to the African continent by bringing together scholars, researchers, practitioners, and activists to promote knowledge exchange and support evidence-based policy responses.
B Camminga with John Marnell (2022) Queer and Trans African Mobilities: Migration, Diaspora, and Asylum
About Curated Conversations
The Curated Conversations: Exploring the Politics of Migration through Ideas (Season I) podcast series examines the past, present, and possible futures of migration within and from the African continent. It approaches migration with a critical and philosophical lens, drawing on the expertise of leading experts, thinkers, and practitioners in a series of in-depth interviews and discussions about migration histories and policy regimes. The geographical scope of the series is broad, with coverage spanning the length and breath of the continent in all its global connections. Experts from across Africa and its Euro-American diaspora are invited to share their knowledge, lived experience, and diverse perspectives on the interplay between borders and social phenomena.
Curated Conversations seeks to forge a new discussion around African migration in Europe and the West, but also within Africa itself: one that foregrounds African knowledge, lived experience, and political thought towards a humane and socially just order of mobility. The questions it asks include: What kind of ideas inform current migration policies in Africa? Where do they fall short, and what kinds of alternatives can we imagine?
The conversations were recorded between November 2022 and July 2023.
Curated by Ali Nobil Ahmad and Linah Kinya, African Migration Hub, Heinrich Böll Foundation. Co-published by African Arguments and the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Horn of Africa Office. Produced in Nairobi by Amp Studios Africa