Published by Springer last week as part of the IMISCOE Research Series (IMIS), this book explores the push-pull factors of transnational family displacement. It examines the impacts and experiences of family separation on forced migrants and their transnational families.  On the one hand, it investigates how people with a forced migration background in Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America experience separation from their families, and on the other, how family and kin in the countries of origin or transit are impacted by the often precarious circumstances of their family members in receiving countries. In particular, this book provides new knowledge on the nexus between transnational family separation, forced migration, and every day (in)security. Additionally, it yields comparative information for assessing the impacts of relevant legislation and administrative practice in a number of national contexts. Based on rich empirical data, including unique cases about South-South migration, the findings in this book are highly relevant to academics in migration and refugee studies as well as policy-makers, legislators, and practitioners.

Our chapter is available on its own below. We argue that scholarship on asylum seekers after they arrive in Europe often overlooks their families still at home. This chapter presents the case study of a transgender Muslim who has been awaiting asylum in Greece since 2018 and interrogates how his family experienced his persecution and flight from Pakistan. The data builds on international fieldwork with more than 20 queer asylum seekers in Pakistan and Europe to examine the question of how LGBTQIA+ refugees and their families navigate their vulnerabilities, everyday (in)securities, and consequent strategic responses. The study employs the critical theory of transnational intersectionality to analyze multiple identities and fluid social connections across time and place. On the basis of six in-depth interviews, we explore the insecurities experienced by the asylum seeker’s family while the young man was in Pakistan and describe the family’s three shared stages of strategic responses: hiding, asserting religiosity, and, finally, migration. The chapter also draws on official asylum applications, NGO reports, first-person written narratives, and audio recordings collected over 6 months to illustrate how the youth’s life and departure balanced his individual needs for gender expression with the family’s collective need for relational well-being, everyday security and acceptance by their Islamic community.

We were fortunate to host one of the editors and authors, Johanna Hiitola, the director of gender studies at the University of Oulu in Finland, at Arizona State University’s SPGS this week for a fruitful talk.