Miami is South of the South? South Florida and Southern Regional Queerness

Authors: Kai Kenttamaa Squires*, McGill University
Topics: Sexuality, Urban Geography, United States
Keywords: space and sexuality, Florida, Miami, Southeastern United States
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 Greater Miami metropolitan area in Florida differs demographically, politically, and historically from the rest of the American Southeast to such a degree that it is sometimes said to be ‘South of the South’ or even the ‘Capital of Latin America.’ However, Greater Miami also has some important similarities and connections to the surrounding region as well. Miami’s continuity with southern racisms and racial segregation has already been explored (Connolly, 2006; Mohl, 1989; Rose, 2007) as has its connections to Latin America via immigration (Croucher, 1997; Grosfoguel, 1995; Logan, Alba, & McNulty, 1994; Stepick, Grenier, Castro, & Dunn, 2003) and the global city system via financial and material flows (Nijman, 2007, 2011). Explicitly LGBTQ academic work has mostly focused on the gay Cuban and other Hispanic immigrant communities only (Avivi, 2006; Capo, 2011; Kurtz, 2008; Peña, 2013). Geographies of sexualities work on the city region has been scant, let alone that emphasizing its role in constituting regional and national expressions of queerness. This paper addresses this oversight through theorizing Greater Miami as a fundamental site where Southern and American aspects of queerness and gender variance have been formulated through a detailed historical overview of several key figures such as Richard Inman and Anita Bryant. Miami’s sexualized present and history are connected to the rest of the South and the United States through tourism and activism through a literature and archival review that demonstrates the city’s importance in and connections to regional and national histories of sexualized activism and entrepreneurialism.

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