Exploring LGBT Spaces and Communities : Contrasting Identities, Belongings and Wellbeing book cover
1st Edition

Exploring LGBT Spaces and Communities
Contrasting Identities, Belongings and Wellbeing

ISBN 9781138814004
Published June 27, 2017 by Routledge
228 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $160.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The phrase ‘LGBT community’ is often used by policy-makers, service providers, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people themselves, but what does it mean? What understandings and experiences does that term suggest, and ignore? Based on a UK-wide study funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this book explores these questions from the perspectives of over 600 research participants.

Examining ideas about community ‘ownership’; ‘difference’ and diversity; relational practices within and beyond physical spaces; imagined communities and belongings; the importance of ‘ritual’ spaces and symbols, and consequences for wellbeing, the book foregrounds the lived experience of LGBT people to offer a broad analysis of commonalities and divergences in relation to LGBT identities.

Drawing on an interdisciplinary perspective grounded in international social science research, the book will appeal to students and scholars with interests in sexual and/or gender identities in the fields of community studies, cultural studies, gender studies, geography, leisure studies, politics, psychology, sexuality studies, social policy, social work, socio-legal studies, and sociology. The book also offers implications for practice, suitable for policy-maker, practitioner, and activist audiences, as well as those with a more personal interest.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction

Spatial communities and ‘gay ghettos’

Cultural communities and practices

Imagined communities and the ‘gay imaginary’

Friendships and personal communities

Virtual communities and cyberian mailways

Community is here to stay?

The research

The book


2. ‘Owning’ and questioning LGBT communities


    The acronym that ‘lumps together’

    ‘Managing’ the acronym




    Chapter summary


    3. Diversity, inequality and prejudice amongst LGBT people


    Overview of existing literature

    Diversity and inequality

    Identity-based prejudice

    Faith and religion



    Chapter summary


4. Lived experience and ‘doing’ community


Overview of existing literature

Socialising, friendship and seeking intimacy

Friendship families

Safety in numbers

Accessing ‘safe’ spaces



Lived experience across the life course

Chapter summary


5. Relationships to, within and beyond physical spaces


Overview of existing literature

Physical space and geographical areas


Rural living

Travel and tourism

Groups and services

Online spaces and virtual communities

Chapter summary


6. The pleasures and pains of scene spaces


Overview of existing literature

The scene as ‘community’

Positive experiences

Scene exclusions

Invasion, choice and ownership

Chapter summary


7. Pride spaces, rituals and symbols


Overview of existing literature

Creating communities?

Safety and freedom



Partying with politics


Alcohol at Pride events


‘Excess’ and ‘extreme’ displays of pride

Chapter summary


8. Imagined communities and a sense of belonging


Overview of existing literature

Belonging and connection

Commonalities, similarities, and mutual understanding

Differences and values

Shared experiences and the ‘bond’ of discrimination?

Chapter summary


9. Consequences for wellbeing


Overview of existing literature

Impacts on physical and mental health

Seeking support

Friendships, confidence and self-esteem

Finding people ‘like me’

Alcohol, drugs and sex on the scene

Paradoxical spaces

Chapter summary


10. Conclusions and implications


Appendix: Research methods and participants

Research process and recruitment

Online survey

Interviews and group discussions



View More



Eleanor Formby is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research at Sheffield Hallam University, UK.


This important work, critically approaches a vexed topic that of ‘community’ in an informed, innovative and rigorous way.  Its cross disciplinary approach and clear writing style means that it will be of interest to all who are interested and work with not only lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities, but also those who are interested in social cohesion, identities, exclusions and marginalisations.  This is also a must read for policy makers and the LGBT community and voluntary sector.

Katherine Browne, Professor Human Geography at University of Brighton, UK

Exploring LGBT Spaces and Communities interrogates the complexities that lurk behind the deceptively simple idea of "community." Page after page, Eleanor Formby shatters the stereotype of singularity and shows us the manifold experiences of communities—in the plural—for LGBT people. This book is sure to poke and provoke as it traverses tensions between sameness and difference, hostility from the outside and safe spaces within, forced labels that misalign with lived experiences, on-line and offline encounters, cynicism and celebration about membership, demanding conformity or celebrating individuality, and in broad strokes, whether sexuality is primary or peripheral in our lives.

Amin Ghaziani, University of British Columbia, Canada

This book will be a valuable addition to any undergraduate or postgraduate course of study that includes issues of sexuality, identity, community, (mental) health and wellbeing. It makes no apology about the complexities that the data unfolds and provides meticulous attention to the detail of people’s experiences and intersectional identities. Overall, the book explores the many ways in which ‘LGBT community’ – awkward, inadequate, limited, sometimes oppressive, discriminatory, hostile and exclusive – is aspired to (and is often a [temporary] reality).

Catherine Donovan, University of Sunderland, UK