Queer asylum seekers in Belgium: Navigating reception centers

  • Anna Ropianyk (Ghent University)
  • Serena D’Agostino (Department of Political Science and Brussels School of Governance (BSoG), Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


While Belgium is viewed as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe, its asylum system operates on problematic assumptions, compelling forced queer migrants to be out in a particular way and rejecting those who do not conform. By applying a qualitative case-study and intersectionality-informed methodology, this study investigates the key factors that influence queer asylum seekers and refugees’ decision to come out (or not), and how they negotiate the closet within an environment that is often experienced as hostile. In doing so, this article shows that to both stay safe and receive protection, queer asylum seekers in reception centers in Belgium have to navigate a complex context where they need to constantly balance between their hypervisibility at the very individual level – as ‘queer’ – and their invisibility at the more structural level – within the asylum system itself.

How to Cite:

Ropianyk, A. & D’Agostino, S., (2021) “Queer asylum seekers in Belgium: Navigating reception centers”, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 8(2), 57-70. doi:

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Published on
20 Oct 2021
Peer Reviewed