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Where LGBTQ People Find Safe Spaces Around the World

It’s not just bars and nightclubs. From bookshops to monuments to trains, a new book highlights queer spaces that have been safe havens and sites of connection throughout history. 

Glasgow’s Category Is Books is Scotland’s only LGBTQ bookshop, one of just seven in the U..K.

Glasgow’s Category Is Books is Scotland’s only LGBTQ bookshop, one of just seven in the U..K.

Credit: Category is Books

Throughout much of history, LGBTQ people have found themselves excluded from, or threatened and stigmatized within many shared spaces. Even today, simply expressing gender non-conformity or failing to conceal same-sex attraction can potentially put you at risk of danger or ostracism pretty much everywhere in the world, whether it is on a public street or a in hostile home. As a result, LGBTQ people have found ways to create spaces of their own, places where they can connect and feel included (if not always safe), free from the need to self-monitor or repress their identity.

These spaces include bars and clubs, naturally, but also theaters, parks, museums, archives, private homes, bookshops and even such unlikely places as trains or historic monuments during particular seasons or times of day. A new anthology of writing has brought together a sweeping global selection of such places, cataloguing the sheer variety of spaces LGBTQ people have created or co-opted to protect themselves and boost their communities’ resilience.