Accepted Paper:

Identities, sexualities and commemorations: public space and sexual dissidence  


Begonya Enguix Grau (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with sexual diversity and the use of space and how political action, protest and commemoration form, and are informed by, the urban public spaces. The starting points of our analysis are the territorialization and articulation of the gay scene in urban settings and the dynamics in the use of space to commemorate Gay Pride.

Paper long abstract:

Parting from the analysis of the Gay Pride Parades in Spain and the analysis of the relationship between territorialization, identities and political activism, we will analyse the mechanisms used for entitlement and how the public space has been resignified by sexual dissidents as a space for vindication and visibilization.

The use of the public space for entitlement and commemoration has only been possible in Spain after the restoration of democracy. We consider that the Gay Pride Parade, and other uses of the space related to sexual diversity, can be read, not only as an occupation of the street in order to celebrate entitlement and commemoration, but also as an affirmation of distinctive identities. Such commemorative venues constitute a privileged field for the analysis of the mechanisms through which sexual dissidents express the social and subjective identities by means of the re-presentation of an embodied public act. These identities are intertwined with discourses and counterdiscourses of sexual diversity which defend assimilationist / revolutionary positions. Such discourses and counterdiscourses can be traced through the strategies of re-presentation /absence from the event.

The most important Gay Parade in Spain takes place in Madrid around the 28th June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York (1969), which gave rise to modern gay activism. With the years and the different political contexts, the march has changed in structure and itinerary, eventually occupying more central parts of the city. That is why we think public space can be important to understand how sexual diversities are managed and negotiated.

Panel W080
Diverse and shared publics: politics of entitlement and commemoration