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Sexuality and immigration: UK family reunion policy and the regulation of sexual citizens in the European Union

By Tracy A. Simmons


This paper is concerned with how immigration discourses normalise and regulate sexual citizens in the UK and the broader European migratory space. The chief focus of this paper is the Unmarried Partners Rule – the UK family reunion provision, which applies to same-sex couples. This policy will be explored through interviews conducted with same-sex migrant couples that highlight the heterosexist discourses embedded in the policy with its formulation of a ‘marriage’ model and its emphasis on ‘evidence’ of at least 2 years cohabitation. In addition, these same couples demonstrate how the possession of attractive skills to the state and financial dependency are an important element in achieving family reunion. The UK policy will be placed in the wider context of legal developments at the EU level. I will argue that the EU mirrors the UK in providing a conservative and narrow definition of the family, which is particularly problematic for sexual citizens making claims for partnership rights. Therefore, the aim is to provide new empirical data that illuminate current debates concerned with sexual citizenship and migration, in particular, critical work concerned with the conservative and normative effects of making claims for same-sex partnership rights

Topics: Sexual citizenship, Immigration, Family reunion, European Union, Partnership rights
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2007.10.002
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