Recent decades have seen remarkable changes in the cultural visibility, legal status, and social acceptance of LGBTQ+ people, from positive representations of queerness in television series like The L-Word and Will & Grace, to films about queer intersectionality like Moonlight, to openly-gay and lesbian elected officials and leaders in the business community, to the end of anti-sodomy laws and marriage discrimination. With these advances have come assimilation of the queer subculture into the mainstream and, with it, loss of both some of the stigmatization of non-heteronormativity and the very cornerstones of the distinctiveness of LGBTQ+ communities, including queer neighbourhoods, bars and nightclubs, bookstores, publications, and other queer businesses. Queer couples and their children are migrating from LGBTQ+ enclaves to neighbourhoods with better schools, queer singles meet in virtual spaces rather than in bars, and LGBTQ+ bookstores and community centres, once the hub of queer communities, are closing, replaced by Amazon.com and social media. These changes raise the question of how LGBTQ+ culture is changing and whether, like many assimilated subcultures before it, it may be in fact endangered. This book examines these seismic changes, their sociological and cultural implications, reminisces about what has been lost and gained, and hints at what the future may hold for LGBTQ+ people.
The chapters in this book were originally published in a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality.