Negotiating queer public visibility: experiences of LGBTI residents in Kurtuluş, Istanbul
Cabadağ, Nazlı (2016) Negotiating queer public visibility: experiences of LGBTI residents in Kurtuluş, Istanbul. [Thesis]
This thesis focuses on the everyday spatial practices and encounters of the LGBTI residents living in Kurtuluş, İstanbul. Based on semi-structured, in-depth interviews with the residents of Kurtuluş and participant observation, the research explores how LGBTI residents negotiate the spatialized boundaries of sexuality, gender and the morality in the district. How do LGBTI residents negotiate mahalleli identity and the presence of queerness as a component of the neighborhood among each other and with the other residents? What are the limits of public and the private in Kurtuluş? What is the role of sexuality in the construction of these limits? What kinds of queer visibility are negotiated in the neighborhood? Departing from these questions, this thesis argues that Kurtuluş is a challenging area beyond being merely modern or traditional, since it contains the complicated mix of diverse spatial codes and practices of living together, and this very in-between terrain of Kurtuluş becomes a site for LGBTI residents to build a sense of community, to produce queer social spaces, and to reconstruct themselves variously, beyond “trans-normative” codes of visibility in the case of trans sex workers living in the district. The thesis aims to contribute to the growing literature on sexuality in Turkey as well as to the literature of cultural geography in Turkey with a critical reconsideration of the geographical concepts such as space, place, sites of resistance, the transgression of boundaries, and the concepts of public and private, and further to that, to come up with an interdisciplinary research which extends the limits of these two fields.
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