We now turn our attention to another rhetoric and politics of spaces of danger and safety: cosmopolitanism. A couple of snapshots taken from conversations in the Lancaster gay and lesbian focus groups will help highlight some of the key issues we want to explore. We begin with a comment made by Ed, one of the gay men in the Lancaster focus group. ‘Cosmopolitan’, he explained, ‘is fine by me. But anything local … isn't.’ He continued, ‘[P]laces that are very local are risky but something with a cosmopolitan feel to it is fine’ (L, gmfg, 2). Here the distinction between cosmopolitan and local is a contrast between safety and danger respectively. When asked to define cosmopolitan Ed explained it in the following terms, ‘Just people of different types, more than one type of person’. The danger associated with the local is illustrated in the following extract: Steve, in the same group, describes an experience of danger in a pub in Skirton, an area that borders on the western edge of Lancaster City Centre. Ed described Skirton as ‘totally local’. So what is the nature of the danger and insecurity associated with the local? Steve explained:

I've never been so petrified in my life. It was the Red Cross [a pub] in Skirton just by the bridge. I walked in and the whole place went completely quiet. Everyone was staring at the door. I had my brolly with me, and my record bag. I had a cap on. I'd been strutting around [with friends] and I strutted right in there. It went quiet. I just stood there. I was looking at the floor all the time we were in there. I just wanted to get out as fast as I could. I looked round and there were like slash marks in the chairs.

(L, gmfg, 2)