Sexual Nationalisms: Notes on Queer Migration and Asylum Politics in Canada
In the fall of 2006, Alex and Sam wedded at Toronto’s City Hall. Dressed in cheap new suits with slick ties and holding beautiful flowers, they looked absolutely fabulous. The guests—genderqueers and radical fairies of all persuasions—looked good too. But the wedding was an address to a different future than the one that might have been imagined by anyone not familiar with the struggles that the couple had been weathering over the last several years.
A self-described polyamorous genderqueer trans-fag couple, Alex and Sam had maintained a Canada-US cross-borders relationship for many years. When Sam decided that he wanted to make Toronto his “home” base, he and Alex began the process of putting together a family class immigration sponsorship claim. Partway into the process, the couple realized that they were going to have tremendous difficulty documenting their relationship in such a way as to render it intelligible—“legitimately” so—according to the guidelines set out by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. So, these radical anti-capitalist queers endeavored to bring their relationship into some frame of apprehendability vis-à-vis a very queer wedding that, on its face, might have been read as a thoroughly “homonormative” affair. The attendees took and posed for photos with the couple and celebrated the subversive potentials (after all!) of gay marriage. Some of these photos were carefully included along with other forms of documentation in the comprehensive “proof-of-relationship” dossier Alex and Sam subsequently created as a crucial aspect of their sponsorship application. Within a year, Sam’s immigration application came through on the basis of her recognizable relationship to Alex. Representing themselves to the state as a respectable “lesbian” couple, Sam and Alex are now able to continue to plot and live out queer(er) futures on nationalized ground.