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The impact of family ties on the mobility decisions of gay men and lesbians
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7272-1729
2016 (English)In: Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, ISSN 0966-369X, E-ISSN 1360-0524, Vol. 23, no 5, 659-676 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the twenty-first century, life paths are becoming ever more unpredictable and unstandardised as lives are lived in more diverse ways. Theories of individualisation suggest that this is a sign of an increased focus on the individual and the weakening family ties. Gay and lesbian migration studies that have focused on the importance of individual identity and coming out fit well into this narrative. However, as most of these studies have been conducted in the West, less is known of the lives of gay men and lesbians in other contexts. This study examines how a non-Western context differs from the Western experience through a case study involving interviews with gay and lesbian individuals in Izmir, Turkey. The results of the interviews highlight four themes: (1) the importance of the family as both constraining and supportive, (2) the emergence of gay and lesbian identities in Turkey leading to different cohort experiences, (3) the significance of emotional ties and intergenerational living and (4) empowering educational and work trajectories. It is argued that gay and lesbian migration must be reconceptualised beyond the view of the family as an entity to escape from. Rather, the study highlights the significance of the family and demonstrates that while individuals are becoming more independent, family ties are not necessarily weakening. Instead other trajectories, such as education and employment function as empowering paths in order to support and sustain identities. Thus, in contexts where the act of coming out is challenging, the potential for other life course trajectories should be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 23, no 5, 659-676 p.
Keyword [en]
life course, gay and lesbian, migration, queer, family, Turkey
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102891DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2015.1034246ISI: 000371600500005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102891DiVA: diva2:713892
Available from: 2014-04-24 Created: 2014-04-24 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Beyond Bright City Lights: The Migration Patterns of Gay Men and Lesbians
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond Bright City Lights: The Migration Patterns of Gay Men and Lesbians
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One of the most persistent popular notions of gay men and lesbians is that they either live in or move to larger cities. In this thesis, the geography and migration paths of gay men and lesbians are studied using the life course perspective to challenge this idea. It is argued that gay men and lesbians are affected by the time and place into which they are born. Like heterosexuals, they are subject to the normative conceptions of life paths that are present at a specific historical period and place. Adopting a mixed-methods approach, four studies related to this aim are conducted.

The first study shows that the tendency for gay men and lesbians to be concentrated to the largest cities in Sweden is greater than for heterosexuals. However, it also shows that the concentration tendency of lesbians and couples is less strong. The second study illustrates that tolerance plays no role in the geographical concentration of gay men and lesbians. Although perceived tolerance is often assumed to matter, this study shows that measured intolerance does not have an effect on the concentration tendency. The third study explores the migration motives of gay men and lesbians living in the city of Malmö, Sweden. It shows that the life stories of older cohorts resembled typical rural-urban flight stories but that the youngest cohort stressed motives similar to the overall population. This is in sharp contrast to the fourth study, which scrutinises migration stories from Izmir, Turkey. Because legal recognition is lacking, following the same life path as heterosexuals is problematic for gay men and lesbians. Because moving out is connected to this path, they remained living at home longer or never moved. Accordingly, the family played a core role in their lives rather than the rural-urban binary.

Taken together, these four studies show that the geography and migration patterns of gay men and lesbians are more multifaceted than living in or moving to a larger city.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, 2014. 72 p.
Series
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 146
Keyword
gay and lesbian, migration, rural/urban, tolerance, life course, Sweden, Turkey
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102850 (URN)978-91-7447-920-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-05, William-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: In press. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-05-14 Created: 2014-04-23 Last updated: 2014-05-09

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