ABSTRACT

Parks are primarily seen as public spaces where it is conventionally assumed that no intimacy or belonging can be developed. The chapter argues that marginal spaces like gay cruising parks are not completely rigid enclosures, but rather are filled with openings and spaces for forms of togetherness that are different from those bound by authority and its stabilising mechanisms. These spaces are open to a wide variety of behaviours as there is no one given situation, no one set of rules to follow, and no one way to act. Parks thus act as a counter-space to the disciplined spaces, which produce disciplined bodies. It is in these spaces that the construction of ‘queer’ as the ‘Other’ is subverted. The chapter thus intends to understand how the performance of gender creates a sense of intimacy in the parks, which they could not find in their homes, community, neighbourhood, and workplace. Focusing on a few case studies, the chapter also argues that parks are not empty containers, but rather are layered with discourses of caste, class, religion, age, and sexual preferences which reveal the politics of belongingness in the parks.