Exilic lived experiences of queer Mongolians abroad
Keywords:shame, exile, queer, Mongolia, LGBTIQ
Mongolia has seemingly progressive national laws on sexuality, but its enforcement is poor. Criminalizing hate crime and speech against the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and other sexual and gender minorities (LGBTIQ+) in the 2017 Criminal Code appears to make Mongolia ‘a humane, civil, and democratic society,’ as envisioned by its constitution. However, an increasing number of Mongolian queers fleeing the homeland seeking acceptance and freedom shows the magnitude of discrimination, hatred and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). This paper explores the lived experiences of repressed Mongolian queers and their exilic experiences. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews based on snowball sampling with 16 queers and allies reveal that shame, as a crucial identity construct of Mongolian queers, serves as a trigger for their forced and self-imposed exile. I argue that embraced and resolved shame of queer Mongolians in ‘exile,’ afforded to them by being exposed to somewhat better environment abroad, ease their exilic experiences, and transform shame into self-acceptance and self-esteem. This paper is original with its nuanced academic debates on the lived experiences of queer Mongolian diasporas in terms of shame, sexuality, and exile.
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