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

Architects in general are people who like to talk about how much they influence communities through their designs, and they are actually correct in saying that. After all, spaces together with various social factors influence how each individual feels when occupying the city or a building. But do these projects respond to all users in the same way? We propose to question the way architecture deals with the LGBTQIA+ community through an open call on our social media channels, bringing in our readers' testimonies on how they experience these spaces, and how is it possible to represent the LGBTQIA+ community in the architectural field.

This action aims to present a small panorama that helps us to understand where the profession and the society are today in regard of people of different genders and sexual orientations. From the 87 answers we received for the three questions proposed, we listed some that expose in a more elucidative way the reality experienced by these people, who – despite some advances and contrary to what many heterosexuals believe – are still affected by violence and lack of representativeness.

How should we represent the LGBTQIA+ community as architects?

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Image made with the photograph of © EneasMx (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license) via Wikimedia

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

Clevio Rabelo, 41, homosexual from Fortaleza, Brazil.

Avoiding cliches such as painting the building with the lgbtq flag, or creating a gay bar or neighborhood, more than that, we must create spaces that bring people together and mix them, 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 existing platforms with these people. And also promoting that architectural education is encouraged among LGBTQ young people as a career in which their identity can be supported since it is very, very likely that it will bring new perspectives on design itself. A good example would be for architecture firms to have employees and a company culture that helps create comfortable spaces. To create scholarships for people in these communities and also to 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 heard, be a vector of a project, be understood as as an enhancer for architecture.

José Henrique Carrari Filho, 28, gay from Jaguariuna, Brasil.

Strive for inclusion within offices, come out of the closet in a professional setting, create educational events in and out of the office, foster inclusive design, and try to convince clients of inclusive agendas, such as installing unisex restrooms instead of gendered restrooms.

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

It is difficult to explain it in words. But perhaps it should be represented through what cannot be considered as normative. Perhaps it is necessary, as architects, to remake regulations and ways in which the limits of green spaces within a block are established or not. Why not to create voids inside a block that belongs to everyone? Why not eliminate dividing walls?.

Carla, 26,bisexual from L a Plata, Argentina.

Non-binary spaces that take away strength and importance from spaces that are privately, mixed spaces and in public scenarios are guided and built around heteronorms that privilege binarism on the public stage and generate violence and segregation for people, from those who do not consider their gender identity as binary sexuality. Even if these spaces are mixed in the private sphere, they must extend their mixed use in the public sphere.

Diana Lancheros, 28, heterosexual from Bogota, Colombia.

Unisex spaces, there are many diferente ways to understand what is masculine or femenine. Stop labeling desings or apaces as masculine or femenine. Sober, rough and dark spaces are considered masculine, even colours, and soft, colorfull, and full of details spaces are considered femenine. Labeling is really disgusting.

Josh, 42, homosexual from Badajoz, Spain.

As an innovative, community-based propulsion towards spaces in which security is based on social justice rather than repression and control. As an educative force of self awareness and inclusivity to be represented in schools rather than on media. As a rebellious movement against a Cis-heterosexual patriarchal society around which capitalism and its hierarchical structure is built, structure that is well represented by the most glorified firm and individuals in the architecture field.

Adriano Infante, 25, gay from Rome, Italy.

With spaces far from the typical prejudices and colors that represent the community, but rather broad, illuminated environments, far from the stereotypes that represent what is sought: inclusion, diversity within a margin where everyone fits and observes one another but that it is not contained, that they flow, that one feels fresh as when one feels the coastal air in the face.

Carlos, 35, gay from Santiago, Chile. 

Making spaces innovatively that can change the norms n mindset of the 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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Image made with the photograph of © Raquel Aviani / Secom UnB. (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license) via Wikimedia

Home, cause public places means that the is people, so than risks.

Mathieu Chollet, 32, gay from Lausanne, Switzerland.

My home, however, as I share them with my parents, only when I am alone. In the public environment, the UFPR (University) campus is quite liberating, many people passing by and few caring about other people's lives, besides being a place where things tend to be more progressive, despite some students.

Eduardo de Souza, 20, homosexual from Curitiba, Brazil.

The street when we appropriate it to march, the feminist bars, 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 selfconsious 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, Netherlands.

The virtual space.

Clevio Rabelo, 41, homosexual from Fortaleza, Brazil.

Gender neutral bathrooms. It's the most comfortable. Just as in houses there are no male and female bathrooms, in public spaces we should include spaces without gender, which may be promoted as home toilets, to invite even the most anti-LGBTQIA+ not to feel flooded by terms that are unfamiliar and meaningless to them. We must level the language/symbolism alongside the architecture.

Cami, 30, Bend, fluid gender from the United States.

It's complicated because I feel free in a park with green spaces, but often these are the most violent scenarios against LGBTQIA+ people. However, within each city there are social spaces for homosexuals traditionally allow this 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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Image made with the photograph of © Zeepix1 (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license) via Wikimedia

A club? This is so lame of an answer it made me realize we need something outside of a club to express ourselves and feel safe at the same time.

Carlos, 30, gay from Guadalajara, Mexico.

I think the thing that makes it hard to express your identity is not know how strangers might react. Big open spaces with little privacy and lots of people are more intimidating than smaller more private feeling spaces. An exception might be concert halls, the music I listen to attracts likeminded people, so it feels like a safe space.

Anna, 20, bisexual from Delft, 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...

Montserrat, 33, bisexual from CDMX, Mexico.

Environments that are not seen from the public but being full of light, transparent, from example a building surrounded by a garden, or a window with a screen that allow’s me to see the outside without being seen in my apartment.

PY, 42, gay from Brussels, Belgium.

I believe these security spaces demand more of socio-cultural issues than of the built environment. Gays have already been assaulted on Paulista Avenue, Sao Paulo, where there is good lighting, easy access, flow of people, wide sidewalks, cameras...

José Henrique Carrari Filho, 28, gay from Jaguariuna, Brasil.

In an environment where people can express themselves freely and feel comfortable with others doing the same. -It is important that everyone's opinion is respected.

Davis, 25, homosexual from Quito, Ecuador.

About this author
Cite: Delaqua, Victor. "LGBTQIA+ Experience in the City and in the Architectural Field, According to Our Readers" [A experiência LGBTQIA+ na cidade e no campo arquitetônico segundo nossos leitores] 28 Jun 2020. ArchDaily. (Trans. María Francisca González) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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


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