‘Rainbow Statelessness’ — Between Sexual Citizenship and Legal Theory

Exploring the Statelessness–LGBTIQ+ Nexus

  • Thomas McGee
Keywords: SOGIESC, LGBTIQ, sexual orientation, sexual citizenship, queer theory, statelessness studies


This article responds to the literature gap within both discourses on ‘sexual citizenship’ and statelessness studies on the nexus between statelessness and sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (‘SOGIESC’). It explores the intersectional experiences of stateless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer plus (‘LGBTIQ+’) individuals as well as circumstances in which discrimination on SOGIESC grounds can cause statelessness for LGBTIQ+ persons or their children. In addition to rare reports of arbitrary deprivation of citizenship from LGBTIQ+ persons, the non-recognition of post-transition statuses and intersex realities may lead to situations of statelessness. Finally, complex legislation and administrative practices around assisted reproductive technology — and especially international commercial surrogacy — can leave children born within ‘rainbow families’ at particular risk of statelessness. In arguing that a global nexus does indeed exist between SOGIESC and statelessness, this article calls for further empirical research in order to provide greater nuance and context-specific understandings of the intersectional experiences and causes of statelessness for LGBTIQ+ individuals around the world.

How to Cite
McGee, T. (2020). ‘Rainbow Statelessness’ — Between Sexual Citizenship and Legal Theory. The Statelessness & Citizenship Review, 2(1), 86–111. https://doi.org/10.35715/SCR2001.115