Since the early 2000s, an increasing number of lgbt+ and queer Iranians have sought asylum through the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey. As recent queer and feminist scholarship has demonstrated, a “gay enough” litmus test often determines whether asylum seekers will be recognized as having a credible fear of persecution. To unhcr officers conducting asylum interviews, a claimant’s gender nonconformity functions as a proxy for credibility. Self-identified bears, with their masculine gender expression, cannot pass this litmus test and thus are expected to confess an indifference to religion, or areligiosity. Arguing that expectations of gender nonconformity and areligiosity make the application process an asylum of translation for self-identified bear claimants from Iran, this article examines the discursive labyrinth asylum seekers must navigate to become legible and advances a novel conception of the twinned process of confession and translocation that asylum-seeking has become in countries of transit like Turkey.

You do not currently have access to this content.