Southern Queer Spaces as Urban Ephemera: the Ybor City Neighborhood of Tampa

Authors: Petra Doan*, Florida State University
Topics: Sexuality, Urban and Regional Planning, Social Geography
Keywords: American South, LGBTQ identity, queer space, urban planning
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Wilson A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The transitory nature of queer spaces has been explored in a variety of urban contexts. Some gay villages follow a linear development pattern until the area becomes more attractive to the wider (non-LGBTQ) population resulting in the neighborhood’s assimilation into the heterosexual mainstream (Collins 2004). Others argue that this process is triggered by heterosexist planning interventions (Frisch 2002) and not so benign neglect with respect to LGBTQ Communities (Doan 2015, Doan and Higgins 2011). Ghaziani (2010, 2014) suggests that the emergence of “post gay” identities and Nash (2012 ) adds “post mo” identity contribute to these shifting loci of queer spaces. Finally other scholars have suggested that queer spaces can be seen as more ephemeral spaces that erupt across the urban landscape (Brown 2007). In the American South queer spaces are highly contested spaces that sometimes struggle to maintain a visible presence. In the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa, created as a home for immigrants working in the cigar industry, the GaYbor District Coalition emerged in the early 21st century to promote Ybor City as Tampa’s most LGBTQ friendly ethnic neighborhood. This paper uses qualitative interviews to explore the ways that Ybor’s ephemeral queer identity involved within the context of politically and socially conservative elements in Florida. The integration of GaYbor into this diverse ethnic neighborhood was enhanced by its ability to engage with planning institutions, neighborhood associations, and other civic groups to carve out a niche for LGBTQ community.

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