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Queering the Meaning of ‘Neighbourhood’: Reinterpreting the Lesbian-Queer Experience of Park Slope, Brooklyn, 1983-2008

Author: Jen Jack Gieseking
Edition/Format: Chapter Chapter : English
Summary:
The lesbian or lesbian-queer neighbourhood is a slippery idea, and for many women throughout the world it is an elusive ideal, even in LGBTQ meccas such as San Francisco, London, Berlin, and New York City. Renowned enclaves such as the Castro district, Soho, Schöneberg, West Village, Lower East Side, and Chelsea developed as cities within cities, where LGBTQ people could safely find one another and build  Read more...
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All Authors / Contributors: Jen Jack Gieseking
ISBN: 978-1-349-33757-6 978-1-137-31435-2
Publication:Taylor, Yvette, London South Bank University, UK; Queer Presences and Absences; 178-200; London : Palgrave Macmillan UK : Palgrave Macmillan
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 6014676104
Notes: Still, all of the women I talked to affirmed the spatial significance of the lesbian ‘community’ of Park Slope. Rothenberg (1995: 173)
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Abstract:

The lesbian or lesbian-queer neighbourhood is a slippery idea, and for many women throughout the world it is an elusive ideal, even in LGBTQ meccas such as San Francisco, London, Berlin, and New York City. Renowned enclaves such as the Castro district, Soho, Schöneberg, West Village, Lower East Side, and Chelsea developed as cities within cities, where LGBTQ people could safely find one another and build communities together. But practices of territory-making and place-claiming are antithetical to women’s economic and social abilities in the urban sphere, and the urban is a historically unwelcoming environment for women. I suggest, then, that lesbianqueer neighbourhoods, then, do not work in ways identical to gay and queer men’s neighbourhoods, but, as Tamar Rothenberg’s quote reveals, they are still spatialised ‘communities’. As Sarah, a participant from my research, describes in the quote above, the Park Slope neighbourhood in Brooklyn is produced as lesbian-queer in the way it affords these women safety and refuge. So what then is a lesbian-queer neighbourhood to lesbians and queer women? What does it afford them in their everyday lives? Dynamics of gender, race, and class have not been fully accounted for in studies of LGBTQ neighbourhoods; however, recent work has begun to confront assumptions that all LGBTQ people will be granted equal access and can politically and economically maintain such properties over time (Manalansan, 2005; Taylor, 2008; Moore, 2011).

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