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Justice et injustices spatiales

Bernard Bret
Philippe Gervais-Lambony
Claire Hancock
et al.

Justice Spatiale, Identités, Minorités

Tran-scaping Queer Invisibility in Contemporary Eastern Europe

Claudia Lindner Leporda

Texte intégral

1LGBT PERSONS CONTINUE to face discrimination and exclusion across Europe in all spheres of life because of their so-called “immoral” lifestyle. Homophobic violence targeting LGBT persons occurs on a regular basis and in most EU member states, same-sex couples do not enjoy the same rights and freedoms as opposite sex couples. In public space, which is still a strictly heteronormative space, most of them continue to hide their sexual orientation or to endure invisibility out of fear of being hurt and harassed.

2LGBT is an umbrella term which includes a very heterogeneous group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Together, they often act as a social minority group in the local and international political arena for a better social representation, visibility and acceptance. They differ from “traditional” minority groups in two main aspects. First, they are usually not marked by their bodies (for example, by their skin colour) and thus, they are not recognisable at first sight. Second, their existence is still perceived as “challenging the natural order of things” (Gross 1991). As members of a social minority group they suffer from various forms of cultural injustice, but their exclusion tends to follow mostly from lack of recognition of their “non-normative” identity. This lack of social recognition has an effect on the capacity of LGBT persons fully to access and enjoy their rights as citizens, including their right to the city and its various spaces. Gay people as a group are still victims of oppression, living in fear of getting bashed, threatened, discriminated against, ghettoized or, in the best case, ignored.

3This paper has been prompted by specific cultural and social events relating to the emergence of LGBT persons in Eastern European countries, events which brought about the subject once a taboo in the public arena to public discourse. Since 2004 there has been a great public visibility for LGBT persons in the form of Gay Pride parades. However, one cannot ignore the effects of the parades, the violence and manifestations of intolerance, the inadequate police protection, and the acts of harassment against the participants in most of Eastern European countries.

4The story of the Gay Pride Parades in Eastern Europe is illustrative of the key debates within both theory and activism around sexuality and space, and also draws attention to a reconsideration of a public space which should be aware of sexual difference and active citizenship. Thus, my paper provides a reflection on the spatial “coming out” process and the issue of visibility of LGBT persons in society, with a specific focus on Romania. More precisely, the paper takes a closer look at the city of Bucharest and the new formations and mapping of its gendered sites. Building on both the necessity to make gender identities visible within the urban fabric and on the importance of space in constructing a “queer” subculture, I plan to question and illustrate the transformation of space in the urban life of the Romanian capital city, with a focus on the way in which space and its relationship to its inhabitants has been re-imagined through the changes in perception towards sexuality since 2004.

5It is also the intention of this paper to set up an exploration of an alternative kind of geography, of mapping, and dealing with the weary subject of “self” versus “other”, the construction of the relationship between the “other” and the norms, and the way in which visual representations may be used to make the dominant ideology renegotiate the subject of the “other”. Thus, the paper attempts to answer the following questions that have been raised by the emergence of sexual minorities in the public arena: How has heterosexual ideology, which has long represented the space of the city, the street, the media, the family, and ultimately the body, been challenged by the increasing visibility of the “other”? What strategies for the creation of an alternative space should the ideology of the “other” invite to challenge the hegemonic ideology? How do LGBT persons manage to push forth their accommodation as a diverse group in public urban spaces, which at the present Eastern European moment express the norms of the culturally dominant majority? Can they, and generally other minoritarian subjects, create a new spatial justice and aesthetic? How might difference, such as sexual preference in this case, be accommodated in and through the built environment? How can LGBT persons in Eastern Europe find a presence, a voice and a “home” in the city?

Invisibility, The Right to Difference and The Right to the City

6The spatial invisibility of LGBT persons in the changing urban social structure of Eastern European countries is a matter that needs to be addressed and reconsidered. In what follows I argue that the normative key to a more just spatial environment and visibility responsive to LGBT difference can be found in the interdependent concepts of the “right to difference” and “right to the city”.

7One could argue that the most consequential part of the social exclusion of LGBT persons is their invisibility: not marked by their bodies, they are not recognisable at first sight. Indeed, when personal invisibility is transformed into personal visibility, one can have claims for more social rights, social recognition, equality, and respect. However, coming out of invisibility is a very critical process for most LGBT persons, a process which implies the risk of being excluded from the “normal” functioning of heteronormative society. Also, the politically official “silence” on sexuality allows the tacit approval that sexual diversity is a private trouble with no public consequences. It should not be dealt with, unless it is a moral, health or legal “problem” issue which can have negative effects on the nation.

8The political philosopher Iris Marion Young rightly observes in Justice and the Politics of Difference (1990) that for most contemporary social movements oppression is a central category of analysis. She suggests that oppression is actually “a family of concepts and conditions”, one of which is “cultural imperialism”. By this, Young refers to a social process in which the experience and culture of a dominant group is universalized as the norm, and those groups who deviate from it are marked as deviant, inferior, or lacking. The resulting oppression is that the culturally dominated are both marked by stereotypes of deviance and inferiority, and rendered invisible.

9These same culturally oppressed groups also suffer the related oppression of violence, living in fear of harassment, when too visible, because they do not to fit in and consequently have no right to belong to a certain place. Cities which are experiencing increased cultural diversity are more exposed to the problems of cultural imperialism and systematic violence and it thus seems imperative that the right to difference be included in their urban governance.

10The right to difference is based on the identity and rights of specific groups who have been excluded through the kind of oppression outlined by Young. A strong democratic culture invites a commitment to publicity, meaningful dialogue and debate. As Iris Marion Young correctly emphasizes, (a) “no persons, actions or aspects of a person’s life should be forced into privacy; and (b) no social institutions or practices should be excluded a priori from being a proper subject for public discussions and expression” (1990: 120). One important aspect of this identity politics is discursive. By asserting the positive qualities of a particular group and refusing to accept the dominant culture’s definition of itself, one recognizes the effort to reclaim and revalorize the meaning of difference. In asserting gay pride, there is a reversal of the devaluation of difference and an effort to overcome the internal colonisation of selves by the dominant culture’s definition.

11But this discursive politics also has an urban spatial aspect. If cities can be understood as the “being together of strangers” (Young, 1990), what is needed is a new politics of difference which reshapes not only how we think about cities and urban processes but, more importantly, re-shapes cities themselves. The building of a more just co-existence based on respect for differences still remains among the most important challenges facing all urban transformations. Demands for recognition and for an end to invisibility involve the right to be present and active in the public sphere, to occupy public space. Difference is not just to be tolerated, but valorized, given value by the dominant culture and this involves, among other things, the need and the right to give expression to difference in the public sphere.

12The question of public participation and openness, as we shall further see, remains crucial for Romanian LGBT persons because of their constant exclusion, silencing and marginalization. LGBT persons have the right to have a public identity in a variety of public spaces, without the fear of being stigmatized, repressed, ridiculed and victimized. If difference has thus become a central component of the way we describe and understand urban society today, then surely the concept must be incorporated into the quest for social justice in Eastern European cities. Thus, the right to difference in turn requires the right to the city, the rights to centrality and participation. The two are inseparable.

13A normative project which includes LGBT persons should take into account a citizenship that gives flesh to the philosophy of a multicultural nation, and acknowledges the everyday lived reality of multiculturalism, in the streets and neighbourhoods, pubs and shopping centers, places of everyday encounter and exchange in our cities. Using a broad definition of citizenship, detached from the nation-state, as “rights and responsibilities associated with membership in a political community” (Purcell 2003: 566), I draw on Henri Lefebvre’s notion of “the right to the city” as a way of rethinking citizenship at the level of the urban.

14In the mid-1960’s, the French social theorist Henri Lefebvre turned his attention to the city and to theorising about the production of space. Lefebvre called for a renewed urban society, intrinsic to which was a “renovated centrality”, and developed the notion of “the right to the city”. For him, the “right to the city” entailed two main rights: the right to appropriate urban space, and the right to participate in the production of urban space. The first of these describes the right to full and complete usage of urban space in everyday life. It means the right to live, play, work in, represent, characterize, and occupy urban space and make one’s mark on it, including the mark of difference. The second describes the right to participate in decisions that shape and create urban space.

15As outlined by Kofman and Lebas (in Lefebvre, 1996), the right to the city also involves the right to urban life, to the ludic city, to playfulness, to places of encounter and exchange. Above all, the right to the city means the rights not to be excluded from centrality, and to participate in decision-making, the rights to the city for those deprived of urbanity. What is interesting about this work is the attention to the issue of exclusion. For Lefebvre this had two dimensions: there was political exclusion from decision-making, and there was spatial exclusion from “centrality”, which I interpret as urbanity, as a notion of the importance of the cultural vitality of the city.

16Homosexual desire, unacknowledged by the planned economy, led LGBT persons in Romania to appropriate and redefine public space to satisfy their own needs. In Romania, with its huge respect for the orthodox religion, the traditional institution of family and still firmly patriarchal, “comingout” and adopting and assuming different sexual identity may not always make sense. However, the will to make sexual minorities visible within the urban fabric together with the collective interventions into the landscape such as the Gay Pride parades typify the spaces of queer community, whose sense of pride means that they want to be present, active and therefore visible.

Parading the Streets: A Strategic Appropriation of Space

17In 2002 homosexuality was decriminalized and anti-discrimination statutes were passed in Romania. ACCEPT, the organisation which acts on behalf of LGBT persons, became an organized NGO with a fulltime staff and funding mostly from the Dutch government. However, changing legal statutes on paper did not easily translate into changing attitudes among a population either ignorant about closeted issues such as homosexuality or homophobic, as it was still fuelled by a biased press and a bigoted church.

18As a result, the “gay scene” in Bucharest was in 2004 still virtually invisible: no obvious signs of queer space, no images and symbols of gay and lesbian life, no commodities signifying “gayness” (Tshirts, posters, services, memberships), no archives, no rainbow flags displayed in homes or public spaces, no publications, no representations in the mass-media. The terms “gay”, “lesbian”, “LGBT”, and “queer” were not yet standard vocabulary in political discourse and local reportage. There was nothing that would draw attention, or recognition of a visible LGBT existence. In general, gay life in Bucharest was not lived openly and with full political expression, official recognition, and community acceptance.

19However, the situation suddenly changed in 2004 when people whose identity was rooted in the “private” sphere of sexuality took up the streets and when high-profile parades, festivals, and other events celebrating gay life started to take place. It was only with the Pride Marches, these gatherings of a particular “community”, that gay subculture started to become too obvious to go unnoticed. Emerging as the embodiment of a community, their first aim was to contribute to the understanding of the need to formulate social inclusion and visibility that bear in mind the specific needs of LGBT persons. The lack of a queer space that could function as a community unifier drew attention to the necessity of the construction of a queer spatial index on the city, which would also offer LGBT persons a sense of belonging to the city. The parades significantly created this kind of temporary queer space, a space in the process of, literally, taking place, and of claiming territory.

20On May 20, 2004 ACCEPT requested the approval to organize the first public demonstration for the diversity of sexual orientation in Romania. The request was initially rejected. The Commission responsible for the approval of public gatherings claimed the request did not specify how many people would participate in the demonstration, and therefore how many police officers were to be assigned to guarantee the safety of the participants. After this rejection but also with the support of the Media Monitoring Agency in Bucharest, ACCEPT launched a public “invitation for solidarity”, which planned to go on with the parade scheduled for May 28 in spite of the lack of legal approval. However, on May 25, ACCEPT sent a second request to the Commission, which finally approved the public march.

21LGBT persons walked out into the centre of public space, the fountains at Unirea Square (the site of the Palace of the People), and made homosexuality visible. Together, they felt almost normal, as if they were a majority and indeed, a “shameless” “queer nation”. They knew that they were not alone in their desires and interests and that there were others out there just like themselves. The streets became a kind of an in-between space, situated between what was public and private space, moral and immoral, tradition and modernity, heterosexual and homosexual. Cars covered in rainbow flags were visible in the distance, and one could hear some people’s comments: “Those are all fags?! Dude, there’s so many of them”.

22The column of demonstrators was moving and people from the margins joined them. A large number of the participants were there simply to show their solidarity, to support the idea of tolerance and the free expression of sexuality. According to estimates there were around 300 people. For the first time in Romania, they were walking out in the streets, visibly wearing the word “gay” on their bodies, no longer hiding, and showing that being gay is not a shameful isolated phenomenon. However, more shy than “shameless”, their quiet attitude of affirmation was not accompanied by “outrageous” acts of self-display, which are usually an integral part of the spectacle of gay identity as it is often performed in gay culture.

23As a counter reaction, there were protests from “Noua Dreapta” (the “New Right”), the neo-fascist group that militates against gays and ethnic minorities. Shouting hateful slogans, nearly 20 people protested against the parade with their own counter-banners, voicing their messages: “Shits”, “Fags”, “Shame!”, “Dregs of Society”. Another group of about 30 people, holding banners with the symbols of the “Noua Dreapta” movement, some signs with the Celtic cross symbol, the Mary Mother of Jesus icon and the national flag, attacked some of the participants. Theywere shouting: “Shame,shame,shame on you”. Finally, they sang the “Prohod”, which is part of the religious service at Christian orthodox funerals.

24The public attack of some groups against LGBT persons in both everyday life and the mass media pointed to the presence of discomfort, fear and hatred toward sexual minorities. The events of 2005, 2006, 2007 would later confirm the same view. Homosexuality, which is mostly viewed not as an issue of human rights and citizenship but as a private issue, is acceptable only as long as it remains privatized and its shame silenced. According to the pronouncements of some politicians and public figures, LGBT persons can express their identities and sexualities only in certain places and spaces and to certain people. They must lead strictly compartmentalized private and public lives.

25Among the many homophobic Romanian politicians, one could hear the voice of Gigi Becali, a controversial Romanian politician and businessman. Although he did “not discriminate against homosexuals”, Becali opposed the pride parade by arguing that, “They abuse their rights. This is proselytism. They can do what they want in their homes, but not on the streets. I call on the Romanian Orthodox Church to defend the Christian faith and morals” (qtd. in Dan Tapalagă’s “Editorial: The sin of the Becalised Church’, Cotidianul [The Daily News] 4 June, 2004).

26In September 2007, he revised his homophobic speech, stating that if he becomes president of Romania, he will “get rid of all homosexual and lesbian clubs” and create special neighbourhoods for homosexuals and lesbians, so that “they can stay there and leave us [alone]”. He also referred to LGBT persons as “sinners” and recommended that “they should go to the priest if they have problems in their head” (in “The ‘European’ Becali wants to isolate homosexuals”, Evenimentul Zilei [The Event of the Day], 24 September 2007).

27Following the outbreak of violence during the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Gay Pride marches in Bucharest, police reportedly made an effort to strengthen the protection to the 2007 March. On June 9, 2007, the day began with a counter march of approximately three hundred right-wing extremists. Later, some five hundred LGBT activists, guarded by seven hundred police officers, marched through the city as antigay demonstrators threw stones into the crowd. Police trucks and over four hundred officers formed a barricade between the parade and the protestors. These barricades, however, did not protect the parade participants from cobblestones, eggs, tomatoes, and garbage thrown by the protestors. By the end of the day, over one hundred protestors were arrested.

28According to a report by the International Lesbian and Gay Association of Europe (ILGA-Europe), the police response was supportive, as they were able to provide strong and efficient protection throughout the day. After the parade, police secured many metro stations to protect the parade participants. Following the 2007 march, five young men were charged with violent actions and 50 persons received fines for misconduct. Also, media reactions to the 2007 GayFest were more positive than in previous years, with three of the largest daily newspapers, Cotidianul (The Daily News), Evenimentul Zilei (The Event of the Day), and Adev rul (The Truth), including favourable editorials or articles about the event.

29On May 24, 2008, the fifth annual Gay Pride festival was held in Bucharest without any spectacular incident. Despite protests from two extreme-right groups, hundreds of people peacefully marched through the streets of their capital. The participants were under the protection of approximately twelve hundred police officers, without whom these marches would not have been possible.

30The parades have had a double significance: on the one hand, they emphasized the existence of something known but in the closet, a framing of LGBT public participation, visibility and publicity; on the other hand, they reinforced once again the hostile orthodox and hetero mentality toward LGBT persons. Many were disgusted by the fact that LGBT persons dared to bring their sexuality out of the “bedroom” and visibly parade it in front of everybody.

31In contemporary Romania, privacy, silence and the “closet”, which is a withdrawal from contested space, are still the only solutions offered by the political figures and church officials. Representations of sexual minorities in the mass media still reproduce distinctive hierarchies of nation and sexuality and construct a low, unhealthy Other in an oppositional hierarchical relation to the majority. Their presence disturbs because it questions fixed identities that have been framed by certain dominant ideology through norms, religion, and tradition. In media discourse, it is assumed that the health of the nation is directly dependent on its ability to exclude what is considered unhealthy and deviant and a threat to established social order.

Gay Screen: The Cinema and The Mass Media

32The GayFest 2004 in Bucharest was the first LGBT festival ever organised in Romania. It was titled “The Diversity Festival’, and had the theme of “You have the right to be diverse”. The festival received funding from the Romanian Ministry of Health and the National Council for Combating Discrimination, as well as a number of private organisations, such as the British Council and the Open Society Institute in Romania. Centred mainly on public debates concerning attitudes towards LGBT persons in Romania, the weeklong festival proposed to create visibility for the LGBT community in Romania, to make gay culture known to a wider public and to disseminate the spirit of accepting diversity. As part of the GayFest, the Goethe Institute in Bucharest hosted a photographic exhibition by Polish artist Karolina Bregula, entitled S ne vad (“Let them see us”) which explored the visibility of gays and lesbians in Poland. According to Florin Buhuceanu, the executive director of ACCEPT:

The idea behind the festival was to offer some transparency for the gay community in Romania. This will be a week in which we will celebrate the right to be different from the majority while at the same time having solidarity with the rest of society. Romania must show that it lives in the Europe of 2004. (​wiki/​ GayFest)

33There were also two debates relating to homosexual themes, focusing on “Religion and Sexuality”, and “Mass-media and anti-discrimination legislation”—hosted at “La Scena”. And most importantly, the festival provided a temporary space for a safe “coming out”, the space of the cinema. Thus, for the first time in Romania, homosexuality stepped on screen in filmic representations which disclosed the invisible Other. The films brought together the once taboo subject of sexuality, explored it through filmic spaces and used it as a way to oppose any conservatism in a way that had not been possible before. By exposing themselves to the public and ultimately to the media, both gay and lesbian, film critics, film lovers, and some curious heterosexuals were drawn into the place. The festival included daily film projections at diverse locations in Bucharest—the Goethe Institute, La Motoare (the Motors), and the Elvira Popescu Hall, and a concert by Hell’s Kitchen. The reason it got the support of such institutions was justified by more tolerant attitudes of the general public.

Queens: That Queer Space

34In 2001 two courageous entrepreneurs opened a new club in the city of Bucharest. To a visitor, Queens was virtually invisible: the only clue was a small sign inside a doorway that led to the basement bar. Yet, at a time when there was no formal gay-designated space in Bucharest, Queens started to function as the space for a LGBT community. In fact, it was the club itself which created LGBT co-presence. Even if at first the club was part of that kind of landscape recognisable only to those in the know, what followed later was the birth of a community. Word-of-mouth was what first allured gay people to it.

35The opening up of this space, which I personally observed as a direct participant, supported a variety of socialising and interacting modes for LGBT persons. It helped to accommodate many voices, and thus fostered the emergence of an inclusive and comfortable space for people once stigmatized as outsiders. Providing an environment free of homophobic prejudice, it was here, within this safe space, that LGBT persons could individuate themselves and also build up a network. For most of them Queens was the home they did not have “at home”, the space of belonging to a family. Through a feeling of belonging to this significant space, which symbolised part of how they defined themselves, their emotions about this place could be connected with their identity.

36It was in this space that most LGBT people started to see that the alternative world once imagined was now real. Many of them living in isolated places, in secrecy and in the closet knew, if only vaguely, that some-where things could be different: somewhere they could go and find like-minded strangers with whom they could share an intimate world and celebrate, through music and dance, a shared identity. Queens offered them a horizon of difference, long waited for, that kind of space of everyday life in the urban landscape, which Soja terms the “Thirdspace”.

37Here, I am particularly concerned with what Soja calls “an-Other form of spatial awareness”, an alternative mode of thinking about space, in response to the new spatial conditions that one needs to reformulate. Soja has also concentrated on a kind of “real-and-imagined” that coincides with Lefebvre suggestion that lived spaced is a combination of both “real” or the concrete materiality of spatial forms and “imagined” or the representations of human spatiality in mental forms. Soja attempts to formulate his idea through the strategy of “thirding-as-oth-ering”, a strategy in which “the original binary choice is not dismissed entirely but is subjected to a creative process of restructuring that draws selectively and strategically from the two opposing categories to open new alternatives” (1996: 5).

38The concentration of LGBT people in Queens has created a re-cognisable space, first to themselves but increasingly to the more open and tolerant heterosexual public as well. If once they used to welcome each other, now, as hosts who emotionally belong to this place, LGBT people also welcome the heteronormative. Some kind of queer space has been thus created, a web of difference within difference itself. Queens is now an urban home, where many can express their sense of style, joy for life, and expressing that style is inspirational and easy, irrespective of sexuality.

39We need new ways of articulating an alternative culture and this involves looking for alliances in what we may initially regard as unlikely spaces, where “coming-out” stories can be orally told and shamelessly transmitted. The initiative of a gay club in a predominantly homophobic country was part of a creative process which involved improvisation, intuition, spontaneity, imagination, co-operation, openness, risk-taking, provocation, unorthodoxy, innovation, and an ability and willingness to delve beneath the surface, beyond the present, above the practical and around the fixed. The two club owners have proved that a sense of community can also emerge from the bottom-up and, certainly, from more personal initiatives.

A Future Spatial Agenda

40Bucharest has gone through many changes during the past decade through globalisation and capitalisation. These changes are even more significant as Bucharest is now on the brink of reorganising the space of the entire city. Bucharest, like many other eastern European cities, is now redefining the boundaries of self/other, public/private, inside/outside, center/periphery, visible/invisible, collective history/individual history, closet/coming out, local/global while continuing the search for the human experience in new urban condition. The old boundaries are no longer there, identities are multiplying and new forms of public life require new spaces.

41The question of visibility has always been crucial for sexual minority groups since visibility and inclusion can translate their views and concerns into issues of public interest. Since 2004 there has indeed been a kind of negotiation in Romania regarding the increasing visibility of LGBT persons in the public arena that has moved their presence from being separated or silenced from mainstream representation towards the one which merges into mainstream culture. By gaining publicity in the mainstream Romanian mass media, which also helps to promote a politics of recognition that allows space for representational diversity, LGBT persons have gained access to the sites of public policy formation.

42The increasing number of LGBT persons in public space also brings about changes in the organisation of space as well as the relationship between space and its inhabitants. The city provides movement between cultural identifications in different situations and places, and thus allows multiple identities to inhabit places so that there are multiple grids of difference and varied links between space and identity formation. Chris Berry suggests, for instance, that in the midst of the ever-changing identities and landscapes a two-dimensional printed map is no longer sufficient. We need to “demand a more fluid and fragmented understanding of subject positions” (1994: 14).

43Moreover, many of the city’s LGBT persons move from what Castells calls a “resistance identity” to a “project identity” (1997), finding alternative ways to respond creatively to their social disadvantages. Indeed, in Eastern Europe one can witness the beginning of a transformation of gay culture from an introverted, closed, private space epitomized by dark, unmarked bars to a space appropriated from the night and beckoning with neon signs and full-length windows open to the street. The distinction between interior and exterior is, slowly but surely, blurring and since the function of space is rather to integrate than to separate, the spatial significance attached to different identity formations helps to increase a meaningful visibility. Society itself becomes that “queer” space in which difference is made visible—difference in all of its multiplicity and pride.

44By definition, queerness represents that which is fluid and therefore refuses to be contained. It is also by necessity invisible, hidden, disguised, made subtle so that it is recognizable only to the initiate. However, the gay and lesbian movement is making the invisible visible and thus, it is already possible to recognize queer spaces, such as in gay-friendly public places. In the city, sexual ambiguity is present on the street and this utopia of in-betweenness has more to do with process and becoming than with achievement and being. These manifestations are shaped by principles of social justice, multiple citizenship, a heterogeneous public, and a togetherness in difference.

45Sexual citizens become more aware that without negotiating and politically expressing their personal identities and civic selves at different times and places within the city’s public sphere, societal discrimination, processes of segregation and marginalization cannot be further confronted and eliminated. Indeed, law can provide a framework for equality, and some remedy for systematic violations of rights and respect. Yet, it is up to citizens, who share a common history and project a common future, to take the initiative in order to create spaces where their chosen lifestyles can be rendered visible. The relations in which individuals and groups stand to one another within civil society, even apart from their relations to state policy, are very important as sources for remedying this spatial injustice.

46To conclude, spatial visibility is critical if a safe public existence if to be built for LGBT persons in Eastern Europe. To be sexually safe in the national sense means not just safe from discrimination, but safe for demonstration, visibility and a “normally” accepted presence in the city.



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