Unpacking the meanings of ‘a normal life’ among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Eastern European migrants in Scotland

Stella, F. , Flynn, M. and Gawlewicz, A. (2018) Unpacking the meanings of ‘a normal life’ among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Eastern European migrants in Scotland. Central and Eastern European Migration Review, 7(1), pp. 55-72. (doi:10.17467/ceemr.2017.16)

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Publisher's URL: http://ceemr.uw.edu.pl/vol-7-no-1-2018/articles/unpacking-meanings-normal-life-among-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender

Abstract

This article explores the experiences of LGBT migrants from Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in Scotland. Drawing on interviews with 50 migrants, the article focuses on experiences and aspirations they articulate as ‘a normal life’, and analyses these within broader conceptual understandings of security and ‘normality’. We firstly 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. 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 paper engages with migration and sexuality literatures 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 to better understand experiences of migration and settlement.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stella, Dr Francesca and Flynn, Dr Moya and Gawlewicz, Dr Anna
Authors: Stella, F., Flynn, M., and Gawlewicz, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Central and Eastern European Migration Review
Publisher:CEEMR
ISSN:2300-1682
Published Online:11 September 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Central and Eastern European Migration Review 7(1):55-72
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
640661Intimate migrations: exploring the experiences of LGB migrants from Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in ScotlandFrancesca StellaEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/L009307/1SPS - SOCIOLOGY