chapter  30
12 Pages

Risk! Pleasure! Affirmation!

Navigating Queer Urban Spaces in Twentieth-Century Scotland
WithJeff Meek

The importance of the urban environment to the emergence of inter-war queer subcultures in Scotland is easy to measure: the vast majority of men picked up during so-called anti-homosexual 'crusades' were found in larger urban centres. To demonstrate the influence the Scottish queer urban landscape had upon such men, this chapter examines their importance in queer consciousness and imaginary survived well into the post-war period. Risk has occupied a central place in the subjective experience of men who seek men in public locales, and risk can provoke several emotional reactions relating to the fear of arrest, the fear of exposure and the fear of 'gay bashing'. The emotions experienced by queer men when navigating the public toilet as arenas of pleasure, risk and affirmation demonstrate their flexibility of purpose and their impact upon emotional subjects. Post-war queer spaces offered men an opportunity to engage in behaviours and interactions that temporarily offered escape from demonizing rhetoric and dominant emotional regimes.