Gay places anywhere? Mobile dating applications and gay place-making in two French cities.

Authors: Clément Nicolle*, Paris 1 - Pantheon Sorbonne University
Topics: Sexuality, Urban Geography
Keywords: Gay, Digital, Urban, France, Place-Making
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 32
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper will examine the case of gay location-based apps such as Grindr, used by homo-bisexual men, in two major French cities, Paris and Lyon. Grindr, and similar applications, allow men to meet each other anywhere in the urban space. These applications offer thus gay men new ways to practice spaces, reshaping homosexual urban centralities. Location-based dating apps indeed allow gay men to recognize and meet each other outside of traditional queer venues, historically located in city centres. Based on qualitative methods and in depths interviews, the paper will analyse how the use of those applications change the practice of daily and ordinary spaces where visibility of homosexuality is deeply negotiated, and thus widens spatial and geographical possibilities of gay men. I will also argue that social and spatial inequalities, but also the scale difference between Paris (2,2 millions inhabitants, a global city with an important gayborhood), and Lyon (515,000 inhabitants, a regional capital with a reduced queer scene) are keys to understand how men are able to create – or not – new gay spaces through urban space via geolocated applications.

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