Ordinary (small) cities and LGBQ lives
Keywords:LGBTQ, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, gay metropolis, ordinary cities thesis, place-making, gay friendly, oral history narratives, women, urban, rural, sexual subjectivities
AbstractIn this article, I ask how the theoretical lenses through which we conceptualise LGBQ lives compel a particular categorisation of queer geographies and experiences; namely, through (implicit) hierarchies between the “gay metropolis” and the many small cities and rural places outside of purportedly “welcoming” metropolitan centres. Drawing inspiration from Robinson’s (2006) ordinary cities thesis, I argue that our scholarly (and popular) points of reference structure the possibilities of understanding LGBQ lives and place-making outside of metropolitan centres recognised to be “gay friendly”. Consequently, the production of knowledge about queer lives still tends to conform to a dominant model in which a metro-centric and hierarchical spatial narrative functions as an implicit referential illusion. Employing oral history narratives from LGBQ women in one small Canadian city, I argue that urban/urban-rural hierarchies are at once embedded in the frameworks used to understand queer lives and practices, and constrain our ability to conceptualise the embodied and emplaced geographies of everyday queer lives in geographically-specific terms. Theorising ordinary sexual subjectivities requires attending to the mutual constitution of subjectivities, process and place in specific geographical contexts.
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