Feeling (dis)connected : diasporic LGBTQs and digital mediaFeeling (dis)connected : diasporic LGBTQs and digital media
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Media, policy and culture
International Journal of E-Politics
7(2016):3, p. 1-14
University of Antwerp
While most research on the e-diaspora focuses on connections within heterosexual families and communities, this paper explores the transnational connections and digital media uses of LGBTQ migrants. Based on semi-structured interviews with 23 LGBTQs living in Belgium, two groups are distinguished: voluntary migrants, who chose to move, and forced migrants, who (felt they) had to leave their country because of their sexual orientation. Comparing their familial and ethno-cultural connections, it becomes clear that both groups for varying reasons and to varying degrees feel disconnected from their countries of origin, families, and ethno-cultural communities in Belgium. For all participants, digital media are a key tool to maintain some connections, but particularly for the forced migrants context collapse' on social media leads to a sense of insecurity. Overall, this research illustrates the importance of intersecting variables in research on the e-diaspora, as well as the impact of offline' legal and material conditions on online media uses.