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Focusing Collectivity. Gender, Sexual Orientation and G ender Identitity as Social Group(s) within European Asylum Law

Eventually European jurisprudence has recognized gender, sexual orientation and gender identity to constitute the bases of a particular social group within the meaning of the Geneva Refugee Convention. But what does such a process of recognition entail for the heteronormative structure of (asylum) law? Which (conflicting) logics interact within this multiple and highly dynamic legal complex and how come that courts, for instance, still hesitate when it comes to trans*-related claims? Whereas Refugee/Forced Migration Studies and Gender Studies discuss gender mainly alongside the doctrinal distinction between (cis)gender, sexual orientation and trans*identity, this project seeks to understand them, following its genealogy, through the legal framing as a particular social group, and thus, as a collective. Hence, this is an attempt to establish an analytic that may unravel a paradigmatic change within (asylum) law’s heteronormative logics; a dimension that is indiscernible for mainstream legal doctrine, yet could ultimately imply a partial breach with modern legal tradition as such. The project attempts to answer these questions based on a „close reading“ of decisions from the ECJ and ECHR and of relevant UNHCR guidelines, in that it understands court practice as a discourse that is not doctrinally closed, but already fragile inside.