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eographers of neoliberalism have long inquired into the radical potential and the grave limitations of what INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence (2017) has called the “nonprofit industrial complex” and Jennifer Wolch (1990) has called the “shadow state.” Likewise, geographers of sexuality have long critically evaluated the neoliberal turn in gender and sexual politics (e.g. Puar 2006, Oswin 2008, Brown 2012). But few scholars have situated that neoliberal turn within the form of the nonprofit-industrial complex in as sustained and persuasive a manner as Myrl Beam in Gay, Inc.: The Nonprofitization of Queer Politics. Grounded in Beam’s experiences of frontline work and careful inquiry into the history and political economy of LGBTQ nonprofits in Chicago and Minneapolis, this book offers a persuasive indictment of the nonprofit form, as well as a deeply felt mediation on how savvy grassroots organizers struggle with its constraints.
Gay, Inc. should command the attention of geographers of neoliberalism, the third sector, health, gender, sexuality, class, and race in and well beyond the United States. This forum is based on a conversation that I had the pleasure of organizing at the 2019 Association of American Geographers Annual meeting in Washington, DC. It brings together the perspectives of geographers of labor, education, and LGBTQ community formation on this important project, and includes a response from the author. In addition to all the contributors to this forum, I would like to thank the Queer and Trans Geographies Specialty Group, the Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group, and the Ethics, Justice, and Human Rights Specialty Group for cosponsoring the session.
Brown G (2012)Homonormativity: A Metropolitan Concept that Denigrates ‘Ordinary’ Gay Lives. Journalof Homosexuality 59(7): 1065-1072.
INCITE!Women of Color Against Violence. 2017. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded:Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex. 2nd Ed. Durham: DukeUniversity Press.
Oswin N (2008)Critical Geographies and the Uses of Sexuality: Desconstructing Queer Space. Progressin Human Geography 32(1): 89-103.
Puar JK (2006)Mapping U.S. Homonormativities. Gender, Place & Culture 13(1): 67-88.
Wolch J (1990)The Shadow State: Government and Voluntary Sector in Transition. NewYork: Foundation Center.
David K.Seitz is Assistant Professor of Cultural Geography at Harvey Mudd College.