Low Income LGBTGNC (Gender Nonconforming) Struggles Over Shelters As Public Space
Keywords:“LBGT” "shelter" “neoliberal” “public space” “race” “poverty” "urban space"
As a focal point of neoliberalism in the US, New York City has been made the advance guard of both welfare reform and order maintenance policing, making the 2008 recession all the more destabilizing among low-income LGBTGNC (gender nonconforming) residents. At the same time, expanding gay rights have accompanied this neoliberal turn, defining while masking new intersectionalities of oppression, policing some raced and classed sexualities and genders while protecting others, producing an urban landscape conducive to neoliberal aims (Ferguson, 2004, Puar, 2007). In the process of attracting capital, homonormative discourses and practices have increasingly bolstered white and multicultural class-privileged gay space at the expense of low-income racially and ethnically diverse LGBTGNC communities.Such contradictions have been seen most clearly by those managing the brunt of policy change. A team of low-income LGBTGNC co-researchers set out in a participatory action research (PAR) project to explore these dynamics, including a survey of 171 low-income LGBTGNC residents of NYC. Following McKittrick's (2007) application of paradoxical space to black geographies, case examples demonstrate low income LGBTGNC spatializations of homeless shelters as paradoxical constructions of freedom that challenge neoliberal conceptions of freedom for capital and the homonormative, multicultural individual freedom to consume.
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