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Queering Paradigms VIII

Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide

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Edited By Katharina Wiedlack, Saltanat Shoshanova and Masha Godovannaya

Queering Paradigms VIII brings together critical discourses on queer-feminist solidarity between Western, post-Soviet and post-socialist contexts. It highlights transnational solidarity efforts against homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. It engages grass-roots activists and community organizers in a conversation with scholars, and shows that the lines between these categories are blurry and that queer theorists and analysts are to be found in all spheres of queer-feminist culture. It highlights that queer paradigms and theories are born in street protests, in community spaces, in private spheres, through art and culture as well as in academia, and that the different contexts speak to each other.

This anthology presents some of the radical approaches that emerge at the intersection of activism, community organizing, art and academia, through transnational exchange, migration and collaborations. It is a celebration of alliances and solidarities between activism, community building, art, culture and academic knowledge production. Yet, the collected work also brings forward the necessary critique of Western hegemonies involved in contemporary queer-feminist solidarity activism and theory between the ‘East’ and ‘West.’ It is an important thinking about, thinking through and thinking in solidarity and the East/West divide, setting new impulses to fight oppression in all its forms.

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11 Working with Russian-speaking LGBTIQ Refugees in Berlin (Masha Beketova)

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Masha Beketova

11 Working with Russian-speaking LGBTIQ Refugees in Berlin

Introduction

In this chapter, I explore the existing support structures for Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+1 refugees in Berlin. I examine the developments in the support landscape for asylum seekers in Berlin from 2015 to 2018, regarding their accessibility for Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ refugees and migrants. I analyze some of the institutional difficulties and structural discrimination using the example of translation work for LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers. After a brief overview of the potential difficulties that Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ refugees encounter in Germany, I focus on the question of where they seek help in Berlin. The currently prevailing lack of support, I will argue, shows the necessity of a more intense cooperation between NGOs/social institutions and queer communities. By highlighting best practice examples as well as examples of the lack of support, I will suggest ideas for practical solidarity within NGOs and queer communities.

For those of us who are involved in the support work or the knowledge production about LGBTIQ+ migration and asylum, I propose reflecting upon what exactly we are doing, why we are doing it, and what approaches we are using. It is necessary to critically examine the working environments and hiring policies of NGOs and institutions regarding the availability of languages and lived experiences of migration and racism. In order to contribute to such a critical reflection, I would like to offer my subjective view on the current situation, analyzing the experiences of←291...

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