The Withering of Queer Space?
WBEZ, the Chicago based media company has a superb webpage with a radio recording, video footage, pictures and detailed analysis exploring the growing issue of violence in Boystown – the LGBT neighbourhood. Read it all here – a must for my law students (who will hopefully read this in the next academic search after searching the blog!).
It comes as the Manchester scene continues to wrestle with growing tensions with the influx of heterosexuals invading the village (excellent research by Moran and Skeggs et al on this). Liverpool seems in long-term debate over greater attempts by the council to promote a queer space as a destination (and with it the potential problems that Manchester faces). In the north -east Newcastle continues to struggle to grow and is all too grim despite the best efforts of some, and would be grateful to face the issues that Liverpool and Manchester face. Middlesbrough appears to have a small but successful queer community, if not the same clear ‘village’ whilst Sunderland is still no-where, although there continue to be sporadic efforts.
Back in the US, San Francisco’s Castro has seen sky-high house prices continue to push out LGBT citizens in favour of richer heterosexuals and as locals there tell me the Castro is struggling economically – the closure of A Different Light bookstore earlier this year being one depressing example.
Together, they show that whilst the problems vary, queer spaces beyond Chicago are facing growing crises of identity and function. The socio-legal change of the last twenty years has brought with it new challenges to our cultural geography; changes that we need to recognise and respond to before it’s too late.