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New Publication: “Messing with the Attractiveness Algorithm: a Response to Queering Code/Space”

I am utterly pumped to share the pre-print for my article, “Messing with the Attractiveness Algorithm: a Response to Queering Code/Space.” This piece will be part of a 2018 special issue “Queering Code/Space,” edited by  Daniel Cockayne and Lizzie Richardson for Gender, Place and Culture. I’ve only loading this piece to Socarxiv for open access. I was honored to be asked to be a part of this special issue, a follow-up to Dan and Lizzie’s “Queering Code/Space” session at the 2016 AAG in San Francisco. The pieces in the rest of the issue by the editors, Olu Jenzen, Sam Miles, and Carl Bonner-Thompson are great contributions to thinking about the imbrication of queer lives and spaces and the production of code/space. Along with my response to those pieces, I incorporated a failure I have seen in code for over a decade now. Lacking actual access to the vast archives …

U.S. National Park Service Essays on LGBTQ History Released

WOOHOO! The LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History theme study has been released by the U.S. National Park Service of the Department of the Interior for National Coming Out Day! Happy coming out, National Parks!!!

Who made this happen? (Queen) Megan Springate is a kind, brilliant scholar who works on queer archaeology (that’s a thing! and it’s such a cool thing!) and she truly led the effort to bring this to life. There are dozens of authors involved. And what was my role? Besides serving as a peer reviewer for many, many essays, my own essay, “LGBTQ Spaces and Places,” is meant to be a really wide-ranging piece that allows those unfamiliar with LGBTQ geographies and pushing thinking beyond the notion that all “gay” people live and/or hang out in gay neighborhoods in cities, and just adoreeee bars. Amen. I account for the …

My @HuffPoGay Blog Post: On the Closing of the Last Lesbian Bar in San Francisco: What the Demise of the Lex Tells Us About Gentrification

On the Closing of the Last Lesbian Bar in San Francisco: What the Demise of the Lex Tells Us About GentrificationOn the Closing of the Last Lesbian Bar in San Francisco: What the Demise of the Lex Tells Us About Gentrification. Huffington Post Gay Voices. October 28, 2014.

After reading the recent announcement that The Lexington Bar, the last and only lesbian bar of San Francisco, would be closing, I got pretty fired up and decided to blog about it. In an effort to get scholarly work out to larger audiences, I teamed up with Huffington Post Gay Voices and will be blogging there every other month or more with other reflections. Here’s the link to the most recent post, “On the Closing of the Last Lesbian Bar in San Francisco: What the Demise of the Lex Tells Us About Gentrification.”

Talk Today at EuroPride Oslo: Where Does Queer Life Go after the Gayborhood?

Today I am speaking at EuroPride in Oslo: “Where Does Queer Life Go after the Gayborhood?” If you happen to be in the land of the midnight sun, join in!

Here is the abstract and info:

Reflections from Queer Spaces in New York City, 1983-2013: Scholars, activists, and journalists have recently proclaimed the end of the radical and welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer (lgbtq) neighborhood or “gayborhood,” both in North America and Europe. The affordable and marginal qualities of these spaces that helped to bring together diverse socioeconomic groups of lgbtq people have been eroded by global processes of intensified gentrification and the objectification of lgbtq bodies and experiences. Where does queer life go after the end of radical gayborhoods? Drawing on interviews with 47 lesbians and queer women who came out between 1983 and 2008 and archival research from that period, I trace the processes of gentrification …

Arriving in DC to Talk the Future of LGBT Monuments

LGBTQ Yarn Bomb in Soho. June 2014. CC BY-NC Jen Jack Gieseking 2014LGBTQ Yarn Bomb in Soho. June 2014. CC BY-NC Jen Jack Gieseking 2014

I am one of the 18 LGBT Studies scholars invited by the Secretary of the Interior to come to DC this week and give recommendations for policies in selecting future US LGBT monuments. I am honored, thrilled, and inspired. I never would have imagined when I was coming out in the early 1990s that such monuments would ever exist, let alone I would be part of this conversation.

Representing the gender, racial, class, generational, age, and geographic diversity of our history is the top priority of those scholars who will be coming together tomorrow to discuss this work. As the geographer of the group, I will pay special attention to making sure we speak not only to the urban or the coasts but the rural, suburban, and other parts of our countries. We may not associate certain

Collecting Data, Que(e)rying the SpaceTime of the Lesbian Herstory Archives

On founding the Lesbian Herstory Archives:
Deb Edel: We began talking about how easily our history had gotten lost.
Joan Nestle: That we didn’t want our story told by quote “a patriarchal history keeper.”  I didn’t want our story told by those who told us we were freaks to begin with.
Deb: If we didn’t do it, nobody was gonna do it for us.
Joan: This wasn’t gonna be a one night stand.  This was gonna be a long-term relationship. We had a commitment to the archives that…it had to be a lifetime commitment… If an archives doesn’t outlast at least one generation it’s not an archives. … This was an archives who belonged to the people who lived its history. (Lesbian Herstory Archives 2009)

There is a need for lgbtq people to unearth and even create their own history, especially lesbians and queer women who face erasures of their …

Scaled Generationally: Lesbian-Queer Organizations, Power, & Time

This post is a continuation of a series of posts on my graphic analyses and data visualizations of lesbian-queer space and time with a focus on the 1983-2008 NYC-based organizational record collection from the Lesbian Herstory Archives that I am creating as part of my larger contemporary historical geography of lesbian-queer life in New York City.

In my previous post on the way scale operates with lesbian-queer organizations, I provided a summary glance into how those groups break down across scales spanning 1983 to 2008. Another earlier post on the trends in the numbers of when these groups founded shows a steady increase in these groups being founded through the early 1990s but then a decrease and pleateau. In a recent post, I explained how I carefully marked out these generational shifts, through both qualitative and quantitative analyses. As a result, even as I wrote a …

First Lgbtq Book Review in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers

I just published what is the first book review on lgbtq spaces in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. If you do not sit at home nightly pouring over the flagship journal of the Association of American Geographers, you may not have noticed that in it’s 102 year history, it has never published a book review on lgbtq people, place, or space, or even one on any matter of geographies of sexualities. There have certainly been some key articles on these topics in the journal though, such as Michael Brown and Larry Knopp’s fantastic “Queering the map: the productive tensions of colliding epistemologies” in 2008. Regardless, dozens of books on geographies of sexualities and lgbtq geographies continue to be published at an ever increasing rate, and we now have the first book review in the top journal in the field. I am honored to be a …

Opaque is Being Polite: On Algorithms, Violence, & Awesomeness in Data Visualization

Data visualizations are fantastic stuff. Social network analysis, graphic analysis, video, spatial analysis, images, and all other types of #dataviz increasingly capture the imagination and inspire as a way to represent the oft mentioned big data. The failure of many of these new software and analyses in the hand of new, excited scholars and hackers and other excitable folks means that their meaning is often…opaque. Oh, let’s be honest, opaque is being polite. I am sharing these thoughts because while many of you are concerned with the data in big data, I want to turn your attention to the algorithms within and how they mask meanings in many ways.

To catch you up, I’m working on a sizeable dataset about lesbians and queer women’s lives, spaces, and experiences. I’ve stuck to actual categorical variables or regular counts of trends and produced some pretty exciting graphs so far all the …

Scalar Implications of Lesbian-Queer Organizing

I was sitting in what was a back bedroom of a brownstone in Brooklyn in the winter of 2008-9 and I was cold. Archives are often cold. The bedroom-cum-archives had become a records room that now hosts 11 seven-foot high filing cabinets bulging with the organizational and biographical history of lesbians. Around me, scores of boxes towered over me and a bookcase stuffed with comments, mementos, and original Wonder Women comics (which I read often during lunch) sat to my left. I was at—what else but—a dining room table with my legs nestled between more boxes underneath and wearing a knitted cap when I noticed a very interesting pattern in the organizational records of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA) I was reviewing for my research. The pattern was about scale.

Not long ago scholars have argued that scale is socially produced (Smith 1992; Marston 2000). In other words, the …

Lesbian-Queer Organizations: Feminist, Women-Oriented, &/or Placed

This is the third in a series of posts on data visualizations I have created based on the complete records of all available lesbian-queer organizations in New York City at the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA). In my reading of LHA lesbians’ and queer women’s organizations’ purpose statements, I noticed a striking pattern of decreasing mentions of feminism in the organizational purpose statements over time coupled with a greater of cross-gender organizations. Furthermore, there was a considerable increase in the number of groups with access to permanent space to perform their work and organizing. While both changes speak to the radical cultural and economic shifts within lgbtq communities throughout this period, they are intriguing to place side-by-side to see our history anew. My statistical analyses of these numbers are forthcoming but the visualization of this data already afford significant insights into the shifts in everyday lesbian-queer life from 1983 to 2008, …

Lesbian-Queer Organizations: A History in Openings & Closings

This is the second in a series of posts on data visualizations I have created based on the complete records of all available lesbian-queer organizations at the Lesbian Herstory Archives. One of the key takeaways from my focus groups with lesbians and queer women who came out between 1983 and 2008 was the persistence experience of loss and mourning of key lesbian-queer places, namely neighborhoods and bars, as well as bookstores and other community spaces. At the same time, many women, especially those who had come out in the 1980s and 1990s generations, lived with an expectation that one just created the organization or space they required, often through activism or socializing. When we turn to the actual numbers of lesbian and queer organizations in terms of their totals and their patterns of opening and closing, there is more to these shifts.

The generational social and political shifts explain a …

Our Queer Lives and Spaces (OQLS) Project Launches Today!

Today we are launching the Our Queer Lives and Spaces (OQLS) Project! 

OQLS is a living archive that affords lgbtqtstsiq people a space to map and share their stories online through mobile devices, multimedia, & web and geospatial technologies. In other words, anyone can text, call, or type in her/his/zee’s own stories from anywhere in the world and it will geocode to one giant, queer map. Hashtag: #OQLS.

Anyone and everyone is invited to join!

To enroll: 

  • Option A) Call (617) 286-5071. After a welcome, press 2 to create an acct & leave an audio story.
  • Option B) Send an mms (picture message) or an sms (text message) to: vojo@vojo.co Include a description of the picture. Yes, you can send an mms or sms to an email account!

To post to OQLS:

  • Option A) Send a sms or mms (text and/or picture message) from your phone to oqls@vojo.co
  • Option

Welcome to the Gender, Sexuality, & Space Bibliography

bibilog-imageThe Gender, Sexuality, & Space Bibliography has a genesis through my own personal and work history. When I was an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College in the late 1990s, I told a visiting professor that I had what was then a  ‘wild’ idea to do geographic research on–gasp!–gender, sexuality, and space. Without saying a word, she led me up to her office and produced the edited volume Mapping Desire: Geographies of Sexualities (Bell & Valentine, 1995) and slid it into my hands in absolute, reverent silence with an eye-to-eye piercing gaze. I did not understand that the magic of this book yet. I had no idea what it would have meant to not have this book exist when I posed this idea. I am still studying the generational shifts on lgbtq identities, culture, and spaces as the positive, affirming, and non-pathologizing work on gender, sexuality, and space continues to grow. …