Becoming Periphery - Israeli LGBT “Peripheralization”

  • Gilly Hartal Bar Ilan University
Keywords: Periphery-center/core, LGBT space, urban-rural, queer migration, LGBT activism


Over the past decade, the Israeli LGBT community has undergone processes of mainstreaming, institutionalization and assimilation, most of which took place in Tel Aviv, the Israeli center. Simultaneously, the Israeli peripheries were perceived as “empty”, as spaces that have limited or no LGBT visibility and presence. This article focuses on LGBT activists’ experiences in LGBT activist spaces in the peripheries. I argue that rather than reproducing the center-periphery power structure, LGBT activists are subverting the paradigm, while creating practices and imaginaries that engender a mode of becoming periphery. This mode is comprised of three major processes of becoming: the first belies the notion of the peripheries as spaces LGBT individuals can only depart from; the second subverts the discourse of LGBT peripheries as empty spaces; and the third offers a dual consideration of the center-periphery power relationship, both accepting the structure and the peripheries’ place within it but also deviating from the passiveness, static stances, emptiness and restrictive forms of sexuality. LGBT in the peripheries have begun creating a distinct kind of peripheral notion that diverges both from being an LGBT individual in the center and from the framing of Israeli peripheries.

Author Biography

Gilly Hartal, Bar Ilan University

Gilly Hartal is an LGBT, feminist and anti-occupation activist and a doctoral candidate in the Gender Studies Program at Bar-Ilan University. Supervised by Prof. Orna Sasson-Levy, her dissertation concerns the politics of shame in LGBT activists’ spaces. Focusing on power relations within LGBT activist organizations and spaces and among them, her research maps the production of spatial belonging through discourses of inclusion and exclusion in activist spaces along national, geographical and gendered trajectories. In her research, Gilly articulates the creation of social relations within diverse symbolic, cultural, geographical and epistemological peripheries. She holds an undergraduate degree in Social and Political Science from the Open University and a master's degree in Gender Studies from Bar-Ilan University. Gilly is specifically interested in power relations within the Israeli LGBT community, its embodiment and different manifestations in space; Social Movements; Queer Safe Spaces and Gay Tourism.

How to Cite
Hartal, G. (2015). Becoming Periphery - Israeli LGBT “Peripheralization”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(2), 571-597. Retrieved from