The Geography of Research on LGBTQ Life: Why Sociologists Should Study the South, Rural Queers, and Ordinary Cities

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Over the past 20 years, sociological research on LGBTQ people and communities has disproportionately studied coastal regions and big cities in the United States. Scholars pay the most attention to queer urban life in “great cities” like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago and understudy lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) life in the South, rural and suburban areas, and ordinary cities. This research ignores demographic evidence about where LGBTQ people live in the United States. I argue that these geographical choices—born out of convenience or theoretical purpose—shape the approach to studying queer life and the unintentional reproduction of a middle‐class, cosmopolitan universal gay subject. I chart a future path for sociology research on LGBTQ life that accounts for geography and moves beyond metronormativity.

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Sociology Compass

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