Sexual/Orientation: Navigating the Asylum System as a Queer Black Man in Edafe Okporo’s Asylum (2022)

Abstract

Unable to live in his homeland of Nigeria because of his sexuality, Edafe Okporo fled to America. Seeking asylum in the so-called Land of the Free, however, proved harder than he expected. In his memoir and manifesto Asylum, Okporo traces his search for refuge from Nigeria to New York City.The result is a harrowing tale of loss, detailing Okporo’s tiresome fight to find refuge from persecution. Recent ethnographic studies have explored the experiences of queer refugees, specifically how queer community groups have supported and excluded queer refugees in asylum, but also how the safety of queer refugees within the asylum system is extremely precarious. Asylum, however, provides a rare insight into an asylum system from a queer refugee’s perspective. The narrative also offers an in-depth exploration into the often- hidden parts of the asylum process, such as his initial moments of exile and life in detention in the United States.

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Mathers, A., (2024) “Sexual/Orientation: Navigating the Asylum System as a Queer Black Man in Edafe Okporo’s Asylum (2022)”, Moveable Type 15(1), 127-131. doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.1755-4527.1793

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Alisha Mathers (Universities of Southampton and Bristol)

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