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Looking Back Queerly, 1996: Space for Gay Men = Pleasure _or_ Danger

Gavin Brown’s 1996 research on the spaces of gay men found they described and marked their spaces in Tower Hamlets, London, as those of “pleasure” or “danger.”  How far have we come to mind the gap to create spaces in between for gay men, and for all lgbtq people?

My research builds on the pioneering work of early lesbian and gay oral historians, but by attempting to record gay men’s cognitive maps of the area – how we negotiate routes between sites of pleasure and danger and how these have influenced our decisions about where to live, shop and cruise – attempts to chart the changing ways in which we respond to and adapt the urban landscape for our own ends. (Brown 2001, 50)


Brown, G., 2001. Listening to Queer Maps of the City: Gay Men’s Narratives of Pleasure and Danger in London’s East End. Oral History, 29(1),

Google Has Gaydar / Google Gets into Outing

Google is doing data analysis for you in your web search, just in an effort to out people or purportedly have gaydar.  Recent articles in The Advocate and Gawker indicate that typing in “is jodie foster gay” will give you a reply Foster’s sexual orientation is, indeed, “Lesbian” (the bold I borrowed from the google search, see image).  The same can be said for a variety of celebrities but there is no rhyme or reason to who is included or why.

I find this to be odd and inappropriate for two reasons.  First, who has the need to make a “best guess” of Katy Perry’s or Enrique Iglesias’ sexuality, or anyone’s sexuality for that matter (unless perhaps you’re aiming to ask them out and find that key)?  While I encourage everyone to be out, we live in a world where this is not yet safe for people because …