Gaps in Safety within LGBTQ+ Leisure Spaces for Diverse LGBTQ+ People: White Homonormativity and Considerations for Inclusion in Safe Spaces



Given the white homonormativity of LGBTQ+ leisure spaces, diverse LGBTQ+ people (such as cisgender lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ) women, transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, and racialized LGBTQ+ people) have been found to have social and health inequities within LGBTQ+ leisure spaces due to their intersectionality as racial, sexual, and gender minorities, among other social identities. LGBTQ+ leisure spaces, such as LGBTQ+ community centres and recreation groups, provide opportunities for identity development and contribute to the overall well-being of LGBTQ+ people. These so-called ‘safe spaces,’ however, can be sites of discrimination for diverse LGBTQ+ people, arguably due to dominant groups reinforcing whiteness and white privilege in those spaces. This article presents literature that critiques LGBTQ+-specific safe spaces and provides recommendations for the practice of inclusion within these spaces for diverse LGBTQ+ people. Given the potential positive outcomes associated with LGBTQ+ leisure spaces, a better understanding of problematic LGBTQ+ leisure spaces is vital for professionals in social work and allied fields to develop interventions and policies for use within those spaces that support LGBTQ+ people’s overall well-being, as well as consider frameworks of diversity and inclusion. To construct inclusive LGBTQ+ leisure spaces for diverse LGBTQ+ people, an interrogation and deconstruction of both heteronormativity and homonormativity are necessary within and outside those settings. This can be done through the creation of safer spaces, such as “counterspaces.”

Author Biography

Tin D. Vo, Wilfrid Laurier University

PhD candidate, Faculty of Social Work


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Student edition 2021