Reflections on Pride: Calling attention to mapping LGBTQ spaces and places

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Wed May 25 2022

Pride 2021


Author: Guest contributor

Springer Nature aims to help in the fight for equality and inclusion on multiple fronts, as evidenced by our Black Lives Matter portal and commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG10: Reduced Inequalities and SDG5: Gender Equality. For Pride month we have reached out to some of our authors, editors, and researchers, asking them to reflect on the concept of 'Pride' and how they are helping in the ongoing fight for equity and inclusion, and how we, as a scholarly publisher, are contributing to these goals by publishing and distributing their research.

For Pride Month we spoke to Stan Brunn and Marianne Blidon editors of this forthcoming book: Mapping LGBTQ Spaces and Places. 

Please tell us about the nature of your work.

Stan: This is a pioneering contribution to LGBTQ studies in that it contains original chapters about LGBTQ issues in 24 countries. The authors are junior and senior scholars from the social sciences and humanities. They also come from more than a dozen countries; all continents are represented.

Marianne: This collective book is part of a genealogy and a collective effort to make visible, legitimize, and create a space of dialogue between LGBTQ studies, geographies of sexualities and queer social sciences from different parts of the world. It was a huge challenge to gather so many authors from 5 continents during the COVID crisis. The dialogue of each weaves through the book and contrasts with the confinement in which each wrote. One of the greatest achievements of the book to bring together the disciplines, generations, contexts and perspectives.

What does ‘Pride’ mean to you personally?

Stan: Pride relates to confidence which can be inner and community.  It also defines and reflects who one is, the degree of comfort we have with others and how those qualities are reflected inwardly and also outwardly. Pride in self and others can be reflected in humility and also subtle exuberance with happiness and satisfaction in who one is when alone and when around others.

Marianne: It is both an individual and collective experience. The term pride - in both French and English - evokes the reversal of stigma. It is about refusing, through the strength of the group, the status in which society holds and locks LGBTQ people. There is something very beautiful about the Stonewall riot. It was a riot of marginalized people being harassed by the police who, in that moment, collectively stood up and refused injustice. It was something very galvanizing, but it also required courage and tenacity in 1969 in New York just as it does today in many contexts.

How have you and/or do you work directly to address the advancement of LGBTQ+ acceptance and equity?

Stan:  No, at this stage in my career (retired) I am not actively involved in any organizations and group efforts, but do work with others in higher education, professional associations and spiritual communities to ensure LGBTQ fairness, respect and humane progress locally and globally.

Marianne: In France, I intervene in middle and high schools in contexts where there is violence and strong rejection of LGBTQ people. I work both with those who need to come out and find answers and with those who incite violences. It is a difficult task, but always intense experience that I hope will lead to more longer-term changes.
I also devote part of my teaching, research and public interventions to these issues. Sometimes these are just tricky to cope with. I started my PhD thesis on gay and lesbian places and spaces in 2003; it was the first thesis on this subject in geography in my university; colleagues were not always kind!

How is this addressed in your work?

Stan: Some authors’ research contributions directly relate to LGBTQ efforts in their own lives cities and countries.  These first hand experiences bring some “humaneness” to their research and to their efforts to work for fairness, equality and respect.

Marianne:  Bringing to light and revealing the mechanisms of oppression allows us to fight individually and collectively. The approach of geographers examining space and spaces allows them to work on the materiality of oppression (the regimes of visibility, rights to the city, the spaces of everyday life where harassment take place...) and to propose modalities of resistance and emancipation. 

What are the short- and long-term goals of your work?

Stan: Throughout nearly six decades of teaching human and environmental geography and conducting research on important social issues, such as racial justice, poverty, ad hoc geographies, minority groups (racial, linguistic, religious, political), contributing to this innovative mega effort that addresses LGBTQ issues at international scales has been insightful and valuable.  I learned much reading the original research efforts and from the chapter reviewers who provided invaluable suggestion to strengthening the text, photos and maps about international    LGBTQ worlds rather than continuing more current or recent research from North America, Europe and Australia.  The co-editor and I from the outset were determined to make this a truly international and interdisciplinary effort; we succeeded with colleagues and friends providing names of potential authors and topics heretofore examined by few scholars.  The short-term goal is having such a book available for use in classes and seminars around the world and to serve as a springboard for future research.  I fully expect this volume will be welcomed by LGBTQ scholars around the world who will be inspired by texts, maps and references to conduct further innovative research.  It will be much cited in the coming decade.  I will continue to explore additional LGBTQ questions related to identity, place attachment, migration, justice, networking and visualization, especially mapping.

Marianne:  I am currently working with a group of researchers on the anti-gender, anti-LGBT and anti-feminist movements, a topic that is unfortunately, very current. I also am planning to publish my dissertation, defended in 2007, in French and I hope also in English. It is the first dissertation in France that analyzes LGBT migration using results from an online survey. Many original ideas have been plundered by unscrupulous researchers, yet my dissertation still retains great visibility in scholarly communities. I also continue to work with master's and doctoral students in their research on LGBTQ issues. Passing on such experiences and supporting future generations are great rewards!

What do you think is the most productive way that researchers can engage policy makers? What has your experience been with policy engagement?

Stan: The most effective way to engage scholarly communities with policy makers is to never look back, but move ahead on various fronts: disciplinary and interdisciplinary efforts at local, national and international levels and to encourage and reward those pioneers charting some new and important directions.  These include: publishing some results in local media outlets (printed word and personal interviews) and international outlets, including each week some LGBTQ story in a Friday edition of a newspaper or tv network, establishing Diversity awards for innovative and outstanding leaders whether in the public media, political parties, religious institutions and local chapters of national organization, supporting LGBTQ parades and public demonstration calling for equity, respect and acceptance, engaging in efforts that visibly show the cares and concerns of LGBTQ members and their supporters, and cooperating with public library leaders and staff about exhibits about LGBTQ communities, activities and community members (these might include art exhibitions, sporting and music events, zoom sessions, reading groups and photo archives).

Marianne:  I don't have much experience in this field except for the preparation of a civic tech on gender equality for the Ile de France region and I do not always feel comfortable - probably wrongly - with policy makers. This is probably an arena I should explore more in the future; working on anti-gender and anti-LGBTQ movements should provide me the opportunity.

What does public engagement look like in your field and how important do you think it is for researchers to make a societal impact with their work?

Stan: Yes, I think scholarly communities have important roles in advancing human progress in issues related to race, gender, class and environment topic.  The public expects to act, engage and lead.  Scholarly communities can influence by what they say, what they write and how the act.  This volume is a solid contribution for national and international geography societies and communities.   The rich contents should inspire other geographers and other scholars to explore the importance of place, identity, justice, policy and maps in understanding LGBTQ issues.    Maps go a long way in making visible the invisible in LGBTQ life and living. 

Marianne:  My public engagement is first at the university with students when I teach about LGBTQ issues or gender inequality. It also led to creating the online journal Genre, sexualité & société dedicated to gender and sexuality issues and disseminating research findings. The challenges still exist today.

What progress would you like to see next towards addressing the advancement of LGBTQ+ acceptance and equity?

Stan: Three points. First: a greater recognition of the role geography plays in LGBTQ worlds, that is, rights that vary dramatically from place to place even within a city or country. Second: we need to construct and interpret more maps about LGBTQ rights and living. These could be central points for library exhibits, community dialogue and ongoing legislation. Third: more interdisciplinary and international efforts about LGBTQ issues are needed; they affect youth and seniors in all cultures, economies work and leisure places and faith communities.

Marianne: There is work to be done in many countries around the world in education to raise the awareness of these issues and develop relevant lessons to the advancement of LGBTQ+ acceptance and equity. We hope that our book contributes to this!

Explore more on Springer Nature's LGBTQ+ Pride hub

Other blogs you might find interesting in our 'Reflections on Pride' series:

About Marianne Blidon and Stanley D. Brunn:

Photo Marianne Blidon for SN Price campaign interview
Marianne Blidon an associate professor at Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne University, France, and a member of the Steering Committee of the International Geographical Union’s Gender and Geography Commission. Dr. Blidon has published several issues on gender geography in English and French journals such as Gender, Place and Culture, L’Espace Politique and Les Annales de la Géographie Urbaine. She defended the first French dissertations on gay and lesbian geography. She co-founded Genre, sexualité et société, the first French journal on gender and sexualities and edited it for 6 years.


Stan Brunn photo SN Pride campaign interview
Stanley D. Brunn is professor emeritus in the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY  40506-0027, USA. In six decades he has taught in nearly thirty countries and worked on many national and international committees.  His has written/edited numerous books, chapters and articles on social, political, urban, economic and environmental themes. Recent books relate to mega engineering, religion, and language; three forthcoming are about COVID impacts, LGBTQ issues, and stamps, nationalism and political transition.  Time Journeys is the focus of current research.


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