Constellations: Limits and Inspirations of Mapping A Queer New York - Jack Gen Gieseking
From Vania Ceccato
Constellations: Limits and Inspirations of Mapping A Queer New York
The path to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) liberation has been narrated through a claim to long-term territory in the form of urban neighborhoods and bars. Lesbians and queers fail to attain or retain these spaces over generations—as is often the case due to lesser political and economic power—so what then is the lesbian-queer production of urban space in their own words? Drawing on interviews, archival research, and data visualizations with and about lesbians and queers in New York City from 1983 to 2009, my participants queered the fixed, neighborhood models of LGBTQ space inproducing what I call constellations. Like stars in the sky, contemporary urban lesbians and queers often create and rely on fragmented, fleeting experiences in lesbian-queer places, evoking patterns based on generational, racialized, and classed identities. Lesbians and queers are connected by overlapping, embodied paths and stories that bind them over generations and across many identities, like drawing lines between the stars that come and go in the sky. This queer feminist contribution to critical urban theory extends current models of queering and producing urban space, and pushes us to think about the production of urban public spaces as well as private spaces.