Homonormalising (White) Heterosexual Leisure Space: The Case of White Gay Men in Bloemfontein, South Africa

By Gustav Etienne Visser.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This investigation aims to augment the first detailed analyses of white gay leisure space development in South Africa by redirecting the geographical focus to smaller cities beyond the main metropolitan areas. Attention is drawn to the provincial capital of Bloemfontein, which is located within the conservative agricultural and mining province of the Free State. The image of gay leisure space that emerges is different from those identified and described in large metropolitan complexes such as Cape Town. The research demonstrates that the formal gay space(s) of Bloemfontein do not share the same characteristics as those in the larger cities. Gay male cohorts that are most empowered to acquire and develop gay leisure spaces of the types encountered elsewhere are “carving” spaces of leisure from heterosexual spaces – without, however, attempting to establish dedicated gay leisure space. In the process, leisure spaces that we might refer to as “homonormalised” are generated. The unfolding processes of homonormalisation, however, call into question the manner in which the relationship between gay identity and space is currently theorised.

Keywords: South Africa, Gay, Lesbian, Men, Women White, Homonormalisation, Bloemfontein

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.217-228. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.035MB).

Prof. Gustav Etienne Visser

Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

Gustav Visser received his PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was postdoctoral research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2000-2001). He joined the Department of Geography at Free State University in 2002. His research is mainly concerned with the tourism and development nexus. The main findings of his latest research (in partnership with Christian M Rogerson) have been published in two collections entitled, Tourism and development issues in contemporary South Africa (AISA, Pretoria, 2004) and Urban tourism in the developing world: the South African experience (Transaction, London and New Jersey, 2006).

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