Hey there! Happy mid-to-end-of-May!
So much gratitude to folks who showed up to the Queeries 1 discussion on May 11th—thank you for taking time out of your busy days to connect, share, and ruminate on survey results! Like I said at the end of the call, there aren’t any discrete follow-up items, but consider this the follow-up newsletter. Calls for opinions and actions are sprinkled throughout ✨
If this is your first Queer Agenda newsletter, you can catch up on past newsletters here. More importantly, introduce yourself in the comments on the first post!
Notable takeaways from the Queeries 1 discussion would be totally without context if I didn’t share the results with you. There have been 81 responses so far, with 75 from the United States. The way the results are displayed is Typeform’s design: http://bit.ly/queeries-1-results.
After the call, I took a pass at making a map of where the US responses were from (it’s interactive!).
Data visualization aside—what struck me was that despite the uniqueness of every response, a running theme emerged: a desire to meet other queer folks in architecture and design. Which brought up more questions: what is the history of queers in architecture? Why is it difficult for us to name a queer design icon (besides questioning the need for design icons in the first place)? How do we connect on levels deeper than identity?
During the call, we discussed the queer community’s relationship to what is currently called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI). There seems to be an identity-based “hierarchy” of what’s important in DEI for the architecture and design professions, and what’s “on top” / “on trend” has shifted over the years (recent ones include multiculturalism in the 1990s; decolonization in the 2000’s; “Lean In,” women’s initiatives, and #Girlboss in the early 2010’s; and the #MeToo movement in 2018). But Queeries’ scope and aim goes beyond affecting DEI discourse or becoming the “next big thing,” in the same way the Civil Rights Movement was not merely about diversity or integration, or even just about civil rights. It’s a struggle and process for solidarity that straddles professions / disciplines / fields; that must be intersectional, intergenerational, and (someday) international; that crosses all the bounds of gender and sexuality; and will probably outlive our own design careers.
Finding and growing the queer community in architecture and design may seem identity-based on the surface, but its foundation is rooted in a long history of queer activism in the US and around the world. Queeries could not exist without the riots at Stonewall and Compton’s Cafeteria, or Pride marches, or mutual aid, or queer bars and queer houses and relational structures that fly under the radar because they’re unrecognizable by the state. It’s with Queeries that we can start to see who we are and know ourselves as a collective, and start to shape the collective toward what we live and stand for. To be queer, for me and maybe for you too, is to “live inside straight time and ask for, desire, and imagine another time and place”1 that is queerer, more accessible, more loving, more caring, than it is right now, hierarchies be damned.
While we’re dreaming up queer futures and meeting and learning about each other in the process, I have a few asks :
Please share the Queeries 1 survey with your fellow queer architects and designers. Here’s the easy link: https://bit.ly/queeries-1. Let’s try to get to 100 responses by the end of June!!
If you’re as obsessed with the results as I am, email me or leave a comment on substack and we can talk outreach, community stuff, resources, archives, etc. etc. etc. ! This is all a labor of love right now, but would love to find a way to collaborate with all of you qts.
The next Queer Agenda / Queeries call will happen in June! Look out for a when2meet. I’ll be reaching out to folks who registered but couldn’t make it… ;)
Follow @queeries.xyz on Instagram—especially if you are curious about the responses but don’t have the time or the spoons to comb through all of the results. That’s where bite-sized portions of the responses will be posted.
Instead of highlighting queer happenings for this week and beyond, here are links to exhibits, panels, and groups that folks shared during the Queeries 1 discussion. Deeper dives coming soon! ::::
A.L. Hu, May 25, 2018
In 1991, the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects + Designers (OLGAD) was formed in New York City, originally as a networking collective for job-seeking, political activism, employment harassment support, queer design discourse, and recognition of design contributions from LGBT architects and designers. The national organization’s mission was to reclaim lost history by identifying and recognizing lesbian and gay architects throughout history, identify spaces and places that have significance in the history of lesbian and gay movements, and analyze and define “queer design.”
Facebook, private group
QCAD (The Queer Community of Architects and Designers) has the goal of not only championing diversity within the design profession but also establishing a space where LGBTQ architects can share their experiences and communicate with other members in the LGBTQ community; acting as a community resource for LGBTQ architects; and creating a recognized voice on the national stage for LGBTQ architects.
David W. Dunlap, April 3, 1994
AIDS is tracing a jagged line through the architectural profession, devastating some firms while leaving others seemingly untouched. It has created hardships, including higher insurance rates, but also opportunities -- unwelcome though they may be -- as architects are asked to design buildings for a population that barely existed before the 80's began.
The epidemic has eradicated small offices and forced the heads of large firms into painful balancing acts. On the one hand are employees who define their lives by their work and wish to stay on the job as long as they can; on the other are clients who may shy away from someone with AIDS, out of prejudice or fear that the designer will not see their project to completion.
The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics; The Graduate Center at City University of New York, April 14, 2021
How do the politics of gentrification play out across race, class, gender, and sexuality? What do these politics look like, and how must we intervene in them to produce a Black and queer city? Join Brandi Summers (UC Berkeley), author of Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City, and Jen Jack Gieseking (U of Kentucky), author of A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers, as they are joined in conversation with Desiree Fields (UC Berkeley) to discuss the similarities, differences, and incommensurabilities between their “Queer New York” and the “Post-Chocolate City,” their participants, and the processes of gentrification in the late 20th and early 21st century US cities.
Thank you for reading.
Until next time 🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩,
🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩🦩 with a flutter of flamingo wings,
Jose Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity