Since the late 1970s, the presence of LGBTQIA+ spaces in urban contexts has been at the centre of the international debate of several disciplines, from geography to urban sociology. Such spaces, which are often referred to as spatially and socially marginalized city areas, known as “gay ghettos”, have recently been identified as “gayborhood”, i.e. spaces of freedom enabling “social networking for a group of people who face unique challenges in not being physically identifiable to one another” (Ghaziani, 2014, p. 126). In Italy, studies on the topic are more recent and mostly regarding big urban realities.
The case study is represented by the Municipality of Trento (in the northeast of Italy), which has not yet been investigated in this respect, and which therefore provides the opportunity for an epistemological enrichment in the field of geography of gender. Moreover, being a university city, it allows for an analysis focusing on the younger age groups, whose need for places of aggregation and free expression is generally greater.
For the purposes of the research, questionnaires will be delivered online and with the help of local socially engaged bodies, such as the Trentino Arcigay and the Equality&Diversity Office of the University of Trento. Firstly, the results will allow to identify the presence/absence of LGBTQIA+ spaces in Trento, which will then be geolocalized to better visualize their location and density. Secondly, given the social restrictions following the spread of Covid-19, the study will try to assess whether a progressive decrease of physical meeting points has occurred, causing a shift to virtual social spaces (e.g. online platforms, dating apps).
Practical implications for a greater socio-spatial inclusion of the Trento LGBTQIA+ community, deductible from the results of the research and only possible thanks to a collaboration with local administration, will allow a reflection on the potential of an applied gender geography.
Keywords: LGBTQIA+ Spaces|Virtual Spaces|Gender Geography