LGBT Refugees and the Visual Representation of Transnational Mobility

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Ernst van der Wal Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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This article examines how photographic interviews can be used to represent the life stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender refugees. Transnational and cross-border movements have a significant impact on the photographic and narrative self-representation of such refugees. By focusing on the example of a photographic interview project, The Story That Travelled, this article demonstrates how ideas surrounding community, citizenship, and transnational mobility are interpreted and visualized by refugees who have fled their countries of origin because of their sexuality and/or gender. In addition, this article considers how digital technologies impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender refugees and their experience and negotiation of borders.

Contributor Notes

Ernst van der Wal (PhD) is a senior lecturer in Visual Studies at Stellenbosch University and a research fellow at the Centre for African and Asian Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin. His teaching and research expertise is geared toward the visualization of queer identities within contemporary nationalist frameworks—a subject he has published on widely. ORCID: 0000-0002-2362-8381. Email:

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies