When asked about their first impressions, a new member of the Columbia community recently said that it was ‘easy to feel like you’re the only queer person in your classes, or the only one walking across campus,’ and they noted the lack of ‘queer spaces’ on campus.
This comment struck me, and I thought a lot about it as I was going about my daily life on campus and attending my first classes of the semester. What is a queer space, exactly? Is the concept of queer space binary, or can there be degrees of queerness in a space? Do we really want to have exclusively queer spaces? Would it be hypocritical of us to be fighting for equality and integration only to claim ‘our own’ spaces where those we say are our equals are unwelcome.
Over the course of a few days with these questions constantly in the back of my mind, I came to a few conclusions. First, that some spaces are certainly more queer than others – take, for example, my anthropology course titled “Magic, Witchcraft, and Modernity,” which I instinctively felt to be more queer-friendly than the following computer science course. That said, however, I immediately questioned the difference between “queer spaces” and “queer-friendly spaces.”
I decided to write this post because I realized I still hadn’t come up with answers to my original questions, much less the questions that sprung from those. I’m still wondering, what exactly is a queer space? What do you think?