Montrose County, on Colorado's Western Slope, has pulled its sex-offender list offline, reportedly because of a recent court ruling in which U. District Court Judge Richard Matsch found that such registries constituted cruel and unusual punishment in the case of three plaintiffs. The action was taken despite the fact that the ruling is specific to the complainants in question, rather than everyone on the roster, and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has announced her intention to appeal. The news comes from the Montrose Daily Presswhich reports that county sheriff Rick Dunlap made the announcement at ladies seeking sex montrose alabama GOP central committee meeting last week. He's quoted as saying that the decision was made "out of precaution" and added that he fears it's a "matter of time" before his hand would have been forced. At this writing, Dunlap hasn't responded to multiple interview requests from Westword.
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Brian Riedel explores the role of cruising in queer territorialization and place claiming in Houston, Texas, in the twentieth century. Juxtaposing digital maps of queer businesses with an archive of cruising narratives, Riedel shows that while mapping business data offers one visualization of queer territory in Houston, archival narratives of cruising suggest that cruising areas have more complex relationships to commercialized spaces—sometimes directly connected, at other times peripheral and symbiotic, and at others seemingly divorced.
These narratives, in parallel with the maps, point to multiple, contested queer territories spread across Houston in memory and practice. What role does cruising play in marking specific areas of the urban landscape as "queer territory"? To be sure, other speakers and thinkers deploy ladies seeking sex montrose alabama with additional senses—an historical term of derision, a specific identity, a verb.
The word can summon all these thoughts and more, regardless of authorial intention; indeed, it can carry whatever freight we readers bring to it. When I intend these specific meanings in this text, I will do my best to flag them. In general, I argue our politics and communities benefit most when ladies seeking sex montrose alabama embrace the untidy polysemy of "queer" and explore the openings it provides.
Since the s, social scientists have proposed and critiqued various models of queer territorialization. Martin Levine used spot maps of bars and cruising grounds to substantiate a "gay ghetto"; Jen Jack Gieseking analyzed individuals' "mental maps" of queer space; Amin Ghaziani critiqued the enclave theory of "gayborhoods" in favor of what he terms "cultural archipelagos. All these models of queer territory posit collective understandings of place that transcend the social boundaries of queer identity groups.
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All three authors also reference cruising, but offer little detail about how cruising works in their models. Using the city of Houston as an example, this essay attends to cruising as an underdeveloped aspect of those models. As Houston's Montrose neighborhood came to be identified as a "gayborhood" between andarchival evidence shows that cruising narratives played a powerful role in that identification.
At the same time, these narratives also show that queer territorialization in Houston was not a smooth process of collective place claiming and recognition. Rather, dissent and conflict over the practice of cruising in Houston shows queer place claiming to be fractured, contested, and structured in part through a politics of respectability inflected explicitly by class but curiously silent on race.
Importantly, that fractured and contested structure is due in part to the converging efforts of a wide array of disparate agents: queer sex-seekers, Houston residents, local politicians, civic groups, queer ladies seeking sex montrose alabama, national anti-pornography groups, and conservative political movements.
These narratives also point to complicated relationships between cruising and other markers frequently used to define queer territory, specifically businesses serving a queer clientele. As Alex Espinoza has evocatively described, cruising can lead to sex ladies seeking sex montrose alabama situwhether in public locations like parks or semi-public locations like restrooms, but often le to sex elsewhere in more private spaces.
It can also happen inside commercial establishments that charge a fee to access other clientele in a semi-private space, like bathhouses, video arcades, and adult book stores.
Out of doors, cruising can happen both on foot and, after the popularization of the automobile, by car as well. Cruising is also associated strongly but not exclusively with gay men. In our information age, dating websites and hookup apps on mobile phones—Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, Boyahoy, Jack'd, and others—seem to remove much of the guesswork but definitely not all the danger from divining who might be nearby and looking for the same thing. Many men seeking men for sex today came of sexual age through these digital tools, leading writers like John Fielding to ask whether the prominence and distribution of cruising as a queer social practice has waned as a result.
While this essay centers upon the importance of cruising in a particular place and a past era—Houston between and —the rich scenes it describes should not be misconstrued to suggest that ladies seeking sex montrose alabama is a thing of the past. Rather, contemporary popular culture, high art, literature, pornography, and vernacular speech continue to reproduce face-to-face cruising in public as part of a globally available gay sexual vocabulary and social practice. Espinoza's Cruising movingly shows the practice is not of a bygone era or one in which only certain morally questionable people engage.
Cruising grounds: seeking sex and claiming place in houston, –
His book has received critical acclaim in part for its temporal and global scope—ancient Greece, England, Russia and Uganda receive specific attention—but also for his sensitivity both to disability and Latinx experience, as well as his assertion that cruising can offer contact across class and racial lines. That assertion echoes Samuel R. In short, cruising persists as a culturally relevant practice in the United States and elsewhere, one that often moves across social boundaries and identity.
Men seeking men for sex has never been the sole determinant of queer territory. For those who know how to read it however, both then and now, cruising marks public and semi-public spaces as at least temporarily queer ed ladies seeking sex montrose alabama. This marking is how cruising functions not only as a social practice but also as a concept.
Cruising: practice and concept
This distributed social knowledge is the kind of information that Levine described under "culture area," that Gieseking captured through "mental mapping," and that Ghaziani articulated through his concept of the "cultural archipelago. Levine borrows four criteria from the sociologists Robert Park and Louis Wirth to assess the status of a "gay ghetto": institutional concentration, culture area, social isolation, and residential concentration. Levine mapped bars and cruising areas listed in Bob Damron's Address Book ladies seeking sex montrose alabama illustrate institutional concentration, and conducted a literature review and "exploratory fieldwork" in those concentrated areas to assess the remaining three criteria.
His "exploratory fieldwork" consisted of walking around neighborhoods observing gay life and talking with gay people, activities quite parallel to cruising itself. Particularly in his assessment of culture area, Levine describes a remarkably smooth process of place claiming.
Within the culture area, "open displays of affection [between men] rarely evoke sanctions; for the most part, people either accept or ignore them. Even police patrols through these spaces pay little attention to such behavior. In other places, such behavior quickly elicits harsh sanctions.
By contrast, Gieseking and Ghaziani attend more closely to a multiplicity of perspectives, change over time, and conflict in social descriptions of place. Gieseking defines mental mapping as "the representation of an individual or group's cognitive map" of a specific place. While most of Gieseking's work is credited as "Jen Jack," this article flips those names. For his part, Ghaziani observes that "new residential and leisure queer spaces are forming across the city, and beyond its borders as well.
Although Levine's work gives an important foundation, the history of cruising in Houston more closely exemplifies the social dynamics Gieseking and Ghaziani describe. During the twenty-year span centered on the Stonewall riots in New York, cruising narratives in Houston exhibit a multiplicity of opinions about a multiplicity of spaces, even as public awareness of the Montrose neighborhood as "gay" solidified both locally and nationally.
This essay analyzes mainstream and queer sources of the time to construct and juxtapose two datasets: a GIS-enabled mapping of historical queer business data and an archive of ladies seeking sex montrose alabama of cruising.
While the business data offer one visualization of queer territory in Houston, narratives of cruising exceed the capacities of that mapping. Cruising areas have complex relationships to commercialized spaces—sometimes directly connected, at other times peripheral and symbiotic, and at others seemingly divorced.
At the same time, these seven cruising narratives I feature here illustrate that efforts to regulate cruising converge from multiple, conflicting sources, including queer newspapers and community 10 Like "queer," "community" is also a freighted word. While I use it in this essay as a shorthand, I encourage readers to be cautious about the degree of coherence, agreement, organization, and unity they take it to convey.
I first came to live in Houston in When I arrived, the Montrose neighborhood was the epicenter of a thriving queer community. There were two queer bookstores, a free ladies seeking sex montrose alabama magazine, and several free weekly papers. Soon, I was working for one of those papers, distributing copies all over the city. That labor helped me question and reimagine my first assumptions about the distribution of queer life in Houston.
In this car-addicted place, queer bars and businesses were not just in the trendy Montrose neighborhood, but in far-flung suburban strip malls as well. Even so, Montrose remained the symbolic core.
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That was not always the case. InJ. Link and his business associates platted and marketed the Montrose Addition as an upscale suburb for middle- and upper-class Houstonians to escape the dirt and heat of the urban core. The Link Mansion built at the corner of Montrose and Alabama streets to advertise the new neighborhood was for some time the most expensive private home in Houston. To understand better how Montrose shifted from that elite suburb to a "gayborhood," I began a project in inspired by Levine's spot maps.
I built a database of over historical queer businesses 11 The definition of "queer business" here deserves some nuance. The database captures businesses explicitly marketed to a queer clientele.
Historical queer advertising usually depicts that clientele as gay men and lesbians, often but not always as separate populations rather than a single market. Businesses were included in the database if they advertised in a Houston-based publication aimed at a queer readership or appeared in a national directory such as Damron's Address Book. This is not to say that queer community owned each business or that queer community was the only clientele. This nuance also matters when thinking about the relationship of cruising to commercial space, ladies seeking sex montrose alabama or not that commercial space can be thought of as queer.
I cross-referenced these locations through Houston's city directories to confirm the length of time each business was in operation at every street address given for it. Some bars relocated, for example, often after a fire.
Using ArcGIS, I visualized that database from to on a contemporary base map of Houston to help orient present day viewers. Finally, I sequenced the 74 maps into a short animation. That animation suggests several phases to describe Houston's queer geography and history, phases that can also be visualized through a graph of businesses over time see graph below. From tomost businesses catering to queer community though often not exclusively operated in downtown, present-day Midtown, or the Rice Village area. The first location in Montrose was Art Wren's, a diner that ran from to Art Wren's also gained a national profile; ladies seeking sex montrose alabama is one of nine "interesting" Houston locations listed in a souvenir program of the League for Civil Education's drag fundraiser in San Francisco, "Michelle International.
Of the nine locations listed for Houston, I have been able to confirm locations for six.
Beyond those six, I can confirm an additional seven locations not included in the souvenir program. That Art Wren's is among those six speaks further to the strength of its reputation. Here, "interesting" served as code for "gay"; the words "gay" and "homosexual" never appear in the League's program, even though the drag event raised money to help those arrested in raids on gay bars. ByHouston's queer center of gravity was clearly shifting toward Montrose, but Midtown and downtown were still quite active.