‘Why can’t they meet in bars and clubs like normal people?’: the protective state and bioregulating gay public sex spaces

Anderson, G. (2018) ‘Why can’t they meet in bars and clubs like normal people?’: the protective state and bioregulating gay public sex spaces. Social and Cultural Geography, 19(6), pp. 699-719. (doi:10.1080/14649365.2017.1301542)

144892.pdf - Accepted Version



State regulation of gay public sex spaces (PSS) has prompted geographers to assess the influence that localised legalities exert in specific micro-spaces of interaction, and to expand this research into cities not considered to be archetypically ‘gay friendly’. Through the lens of Foucault’s governmentality, it is important to consider state-directed bioregulatory influences upon toilets and parks as PSS. Such bioregulation, with its aim of producing a ‘healthy’ sexual population, seeks to expose public sex as ‘dangerous’, encouraging a policing of PSS and the men who use them. Part of this bioregulation also enlists men using PSS as responsible for peer surveillance to ensure anonymity and privacy in PSS. This auto-surveillance develops a ‘common code of conduct’ leading these men to develop their own modes of ‘normativity’ within these hetero-challenging spaces. By consulting with men who use PSS, I unearth oral histories of how changing laws, policy and ‘mainstream’ attitudes towards PSS in Glasgow, Scotland, have impacted upon cruising and cottaging. This paper will provide a place-specific reading of gay urban sexscapes, exploring how state bioregulation encourages the creation of new gay practices, identities and geographies.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:ANDERSON, GRANT
Authors: Anderson, G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Social and Cultural Geography
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-1197
Published Online:10 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in Social and Cultural Geography 19(6):699-719
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record