Feminist, Queer and Trans Geographies

LGBTQ situated memory, place-making and the sexual politics of gentrification

This article draws on material from an ethnographic study in the gentrifying/gentrified London neighbourhood of Brixton to analyse the relationship between practices of LGBTQ territorialisation and the politics of neighbourhood change. It proceeds with two interrelated aims: to think critically about the ways in which LGBTQ claims to place-based belonging interact with racialised and classed ideologies of displacement and disciplining, and to explore memory’s significance in framing the relationship between LGBTQ people and place. ‘LGBTQ situated memory’ is thus introduced here as a concept that draws attention to the complex, contradictory and dynamic role that site-specific evocations of the past play in contemporary LGBTQ urban politics. By exploring three memory tropes that emerge in Brixton, I show that LGBTQ situated memory can be used to claim spatialised belonging, negotiate culpability for gentrification and disturb progress narratives. Ultimately this article both calls for, and works towards, an approach to sexual geography that foregrounds multiplicity: a multiplicity of LGBTQ situated histories and – as is reflected in the memories explored – a multiplicity of relationships between LGBTQ people and neighbourhood development.

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Volume 38 Issue 5

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