LGBTQIA+ Experience in the City and the Architectural Field, According to our Readers

LGBTQIA+ Experience in the City and the Architectural Field, According to our Readers

In general, architects like to talk about how much their designs influence communities, and it makes perfect sense for them to do so. In the end, physical spaces and different social factors influence how each individual feels when they inhabit the city or occupy a building. But do all projects respond to all users the same way? We set out to question the way in which architecture approaches the LGBTQIA+ community, through an open call on our social networks, collecting the testimony of our readers on how they inhabit these spaces and how it would be possible to represent the community in the architectural field.

This action seeks to present a small overview that will help us understand where the profession and society are currently facing, in relation to people of different genders and sexual orientations. Among the 87 responses received, for the three questions asked during a 24-hour period, we selected some that more clearly explain the reality experienced by these people, who –despite some progress and contrary to what many people believe– are still affected for different types of violence and lack of representation.

As Architects: How Should We Represent the LGBTQIA+ Community?

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Strengthening the spatial memory of our community, spreading its recent productions, questioning our 'universal design' patterns, fighting for political positions within our own discipline, and above all, questioning any cis-hetero-white-class vision of the profession. 

Clevio Rabelo, 41, Homosexual from Fortaleza, Brasil.

Avoiding cliches like painting the building with the LGBTQIA+ flag or creating bars or a gay neighborhood. More than that, it is necessary to create spaces that mix and bring people together, regardless of their gender identity, where no pressure is felt.

 Sebastián Campos, 25, Homosexual from Santiago, Chile.

I don't need special treatment, I just want to be accepted.

Anonymous Woman, 27, Lesbian from Germany.

Sharing the platforms that exist with these people. Furthermore, promoting architectural education as a career in which your identity can be supported, as it will most likely bring new perspectives on design itself. A good example would be if architecture firms have employees and a culture in which the company helps create comfortable spaces. Create scholarships for people from these communities and also present their ideas at architecture conferences. 

Cami, 30, Bend, Fluid Gender from the United States.

The LGBTQIA+ community must also be included in this fight, be listened to, be a vector of the project, be understood as a power for architecture.

José Henrique Carrari Filho, 28, Homosexual from Jaguariúna, Brasil.

Striving for inclusion within offices, coming out of the closet in a professional setting, creating educational events in and out of the office, promoting inclusive design, and trying to convince clients of inclusive agendas, such as installing unisex restrooms instead of restrooms separated by gender.

Pedro Camara, 34, Homosexual from New York, United States.

It is difficult to explain it in words. Perhaps redo the regulations and change the way in which the limits of green spaces are established within a block. Why not create gaps within the blocks that are for everyone? Why not break with the party walls?

Carla, 26, Bisexual from La Plata, Argentina.

Non-binary spaces that take away strength and importance from spaces that are privately mixed spaces and are publicly guided and built around heteronorms that privilege binarism, generating violence and segregation for people who do not consider their gender identity as sexuality binary. Thus, being mixed in private, they should extend their mixed use to the public.

Diana Lancheros, 28, Heterosexual from Bogotá, Colombia.

In unisex spaces, there are many different ways of understanding what is masculine or feminine. Stop labeling projects or spaces as male or female. Sober, rough, and dark spaces are considered masculine, and soft, colorful, and detailed spaces are considered feminine. Labeling is really gross.

Josh, 42, Homosexual from Badajoz, Spain.

As an innovative and community drive towards spaces where security is based on social justice and not on repression and control. As an educational force of self-awareness and inclusion to be represented in schools rather than in the media. As a rebel movement against a cis-heterosexual patriarchal society around which capitalism and its hierarchical structure are built; a structure that is well represented by the steadfast and most glorified individuals in the field of architecture.

Adriano, Homosexual from Rome, Italy.

With spaces away from stereotypes and colors that represent the community. Rather, with wide and illuminated environments that represent what is sought: inclusion and diversity within a margin where everyone fits and observes one another; spaces that flow, that feel fresh like when you feel the coastal air on your face.

Carlos, 35, Homosexual from Santiago, Chile. 

Creating innovative spaces that can change the norms and mentality of society.

Chirag Adhri Das, 21, Bisexual from India.

What Private or Public Space Makes you Feel like a Free Citizen in Relation to your Sexual Orientation?

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My home. Because public spaces mean that there will be people, therefore, danger.

Mathieu Chollet, 32, Homosexual from Lausanne, Switzerland.

At home, however, as I live with my parents, only when I am alone. In public settings, the UFPR campus is quite liberating, many people pass by and few care about other people's lives. Also, it is a place where things tend to get closer to Progressivism.

Eduardo de Souza, 20, Homosexual from Curitiba, Brasil.

The street when we appropriate it to march, the feminist bowling alleys, any place where there is a feminist event.

Mart, 19, Non-Binary and Bisexual from Cordoba, Argentina.

I always feel safe inside houses of the people I trust, but public spaces are also relatively safe in the Netherlands. I’d feel more inclined to express my orientation in spaces that feel more private, a cozy bar, or in the streets at night. I don’t shy away from goodbye kisses at a central station, but they do make me feel much more self-conscious of what other people might think, since it’s a big public space with little private areas, so a lot of people can see you and you never know what their view on things might be.

Anna, 20, Bisexual from Delft, The Netherlands.

Virtual space.

Clevio Rabelo, 41, Homosexual from Fortaleza, Brasil.

Bathrooms without gender designation. It is the most comfortable. Just as at home men's and women's toilets are not divided, in public spaces we must include genderless spaces, which could perhaps be promoted as residential bathrooms in order to invite even the most homophobic and not feel bombarded by terms that have no familiarity or family meaning for them. Language/symbolism needs to be leveled alongside architecture.

Cami, 30, Bend, Fluid Gender from the United States.

It is complicated because I feel free in a park with green areas, but many times these are the most violent scenarios against LGBTQIA+ people. However, within each city there are homosocial spaces that by tradition allow the LGBTQIA+ population to feel free and safe.

Eliana Villa, 22, Bisexual from Barranquilla, Colombia.

What Kind of Built Environment Makes you Feel Freer and Safer in Relation to your Sexual Orientation?

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A night club? This is such a weak response that it made me realize that we need something outside of a nightclub to express ourselves and feel safe at the same time.

Carlos, 30, Homosexual from Guadalajara, México.

I think what makes it difficult to express our identity is not knowing how strangers can react. Large open spaces with little privacy and many people are more intimidating than small private spaces. An exception may be the concert halls. The music I listen to draws people of the same opinion to me, so it seems to be a safe space.

Anna, 20, Bisexual from Delft, The Netherlands.

Public spaces but not infinitely open (not a forest, for example). I like to feel that I can control the accesses a bit, in case someone follows me or something endangers me.

Montserrat, 33, Bisexual from CDMX, México.

Environments that are not seen by the public, but that are full of light and transparencies. For example, a building surrounded by a garden or a window with a screen that allows me to see the outside without being seen from my apartment.

PY, 42, Homosexual from Brussels, Belgium.

I believe that safe spaces require developing more aspects than just the built environment. Gays have already been attacked on Avenida Paulista, where there is good lighting, easy access, flow of people, wide sidewalks, cameras...

José Henrique Carrari Filho, 28, Homosexual from Jaguariúna, Brasil.

In an environment where people can express themselves freely and others can also express themselves. We must respect the opinion of each one.

Davis, 25, Homosexual from Quito, Ecuador.

Note: Though the original intent was to collect, curate, and feature responses from all the LGBTQIA+ community, sadly, editors did not receive any TIA response during the open call published on, ArchDaily in Spanish, and ArchDaily Brasil.

About this author
Cite: Delaqua, Victor. "LGBTQIA+ Experience in the City and the Architectural Field, According to our Readers" 28 Jun 2020. ArchDaily. (Trans. María Francisca González) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

Image Made with Photography © Mickey Mystique (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license) via Wikimedia


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