“Now However, the option to use social media

“Now if you walk down new Yorks 5th avenue on an ordinary day, I will have within sight more
human beings than most of those prehistoric hunter-gatherers saw in a life time.”

The advantage that urban areas now hold for the queer community is no longer facilities or
designated areas, but population. Urban areas like London held an appeal for queer people as a
place with a large and diverse groups of people. In smaller towns you wouldn’t get areas that
cater for such a demographic, or provided a space for them to congregate. Large areas like Soho
could still provide the anonymity associated with the city, but also become a place for queer
people to establish their own space. However, the option to use social media to find people has
diminished the need for these spaces, which may be why so many LGBT+ clubs have closed in
London over the last 10 years. Modern society has become increasingly reliant on technology,
and in the age of the internet and social media, instant gratification becomes increasingly
desirable. The same is now true for sex and dating. Apps like Grindr and Tinder remove the need
to actively go out to find sexual partners, which had previously been one of the larger hurdles in
queer culture. The reason behind many clubs’ closure has been credited in part to gentrification,
but with queer-specific areas becoming less necessary, the subculture may be dwindling due to
freedom, not oppression. Whereas before someone might go to a gay bar to find men, they now
have the choice of going to a mainstream venue and finding other queer people though social
media instead.

“‘Now queers often want to be normal,’ he says. On the other hand, he hopes for a continuation
of the tradition. Why? Because the continued creation of ‘a space of pure artifice’ is a means of
liberation from ‘the imprisoning characteristics of the modern city.'”

Previously, the way you dressed and presented yourself were a way of portraying your sexual
preferences, but with this database of likewise orientated people at your fingertips there is a lower
need to conform to the stereotype. Some might see this as a loss of culture, but to be able to
have people dress as they like without fear of losing the opportunity of meeting someone should
be seen as a step forward. One example of this is show in the Channel 4 tv series ‘Cucumber’.

The three characters find themselves hunting down a specific man ‘Aiden, 24, versatile’, around
the various gay locations in Manchester based on his distance on Grindr. Though they use these
spots as searching points, the locations themselves are not too important, since they already find
who they are looking for before leaving the house. This idea of using a catalogue of men then
hunting them down is the complete opposite of attending an LGBT+ bar or pub before finding
someone to take your interest.

Urban areas, despite their diversity, perpetuate ‘ideal image’ in the queer community as
white, rich and male. Cities such as London have been called cultural melting pots, which for the
most part rings true. However, within the queer subculture in these areas, we still see white,
‘masculine’, well-off men as the ideal standard. Users of gay dating apps will be no stranger to
terms similar to ‘No blacks, no fems, no chubs’. Labelling in the gay community is abundant, from
terms for body type (twink, hunk, bear, otter) or personality grouping (Masc4Masc).

“The larger question is whether this phenomenon is specific to the app, or if it just finds its most
easily seen form in Grindr. Unfortunately … it is the latter. There is something about the blend of
social-media publicity and a paradoxical pretension to anonymity fostered by the Internet that is
enabling of things like trolling.”

While you would thing being in a city with such diverse cultural make-up like London would make
this less common. But really it provides people a platform to discriminate against whole groups of
people and pass it off as ‘just a preference’. This is in part because of the sexual connotations of
the sight and the anonymity of using the internet. So though the physical space of the city is not
being used here, it still influences the virtual space of its users.

“We explored experiences of antifat bias among gay men and the body image correlates of these
experiences. Participants completed measures of antifat bias, body image disturbance, and open-
ended questions about their experience with antifat bias. Over one third of gay men (many of
whom were not overweight using common body mass index BMI) reported experiencing antifat
bias. The most common type of antifat bias reported was rejection by potential romantic partners
on the basis of weight. Both experiencing and witnessing antifat bias was associated with several

types of body image disturbance. Gay men reported greater likelihood that the overweight man
would be blatantly ignored, treated rudely, or mocked if he approached an attractive potential
romantic partner. These studies suggest that antifat bias is a challenge for many members of the
gay community, even those who are not technically overweight.”

Online when looking at profiles, people are reduced to a small amount of information. Location,
age, looks and intent. From this the only unique aspect of a person you are going to see is there
appearance. This leads to a lot of pressure on the individual to present themselves a certain way
in order to be successful, which in turn leads to body dysmorphia and poor self esteem.

Naturally, this topic’s audience will be limited. Since cities are the most expensive places
to live, the people that these points can be applied to will be more on the wealthy end of the
spectrum. Even more so when looking at club culture and going out, as this requires disposable
income. When you think of the LBGT community, you don’t think poverty. This is because the
queer community and lifestyle is advertised as party loving and frivolous, with the young, white
boy with disposable income as the poster boy.

“Some LGBT people are poor. In fact, … rates for LGB adults are higher than for heterosexual
adults. This fact should not be surprising. After all, LGBT people are born into all types of families,
including those who are poor. LGBT people face the same socio-economic challenges that other
people who share their sex, race, ethnicity, age, and disability face. But they also face unique
obstacles because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Many places designed for the LGBT community are placed behind a pay-wall, be it the cost of
going to expensive areas in the city such as Soho, needing a smart phone to have access to apps
like Grindr, or just the general cost hikes that we accept as an aspect of city life.

“LGBT people are of all ages, and the young and the old are particularly economically vulnerable.
An estimated 1.6 million youth in the U.S. experience homelessness each year, and research
suggests that between 20% and 40% of them identify as LGBT. Among members of same-sex
couples in the United States, 7% are 65 years of age or older and 28% are disabled. Nearly 6% of

individuals in same-sex couples receive Medicaid or other government assistance for those with
low incomes or a disability.”

Homelessness is especially rife in large cities such as London due to high property prices and a
large population. For many in the queer community that are not accepted by their family or
friends, may see moving to the city as an opportunity to meet people and get a new start, but with
a disproportionately large percent of London’s homeless being LGBT identifying, we can see that
for many this isn’t the case. This is one example where we can see a distinct negative correlation
between queer life and the city.

In conclusion, queer culture and the city continue to have a special relationship, but no
longer for all the same reasons. The physical spaces and facilities the city offers are slowly being
phased out and replaced by virtual ones. The internet has reduced the feeling of isolation for
people in the gay community, so the need for a space where they can comfortably be themselves
becomes needed less and less. The introduction of gay marriage and clearer gay rights removes
the rebellious aspect of queer spaces, so the urban appeal shifts to population. Cities such as
London will always be on the forefront for new and controversial ideas, but for most this would
mean their place in the city would die out as it became more widely accepted. Since the appeal of
the city for the queer community is population, this is something that is only increasing. This is
why queer culture will always thrive in urban areas, even if the way they do this changes over time
and gets re-modernised.