Queer Spaces, Sexual Violence and the Desire for Safety

Tanya Serisier

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    Queer politics and spaces have historically been associated with ideals of sexual liberation. They are conceptualised as spaces where sex, and its intersections with intimacy, friendship and love can be explored outside of normative frameworks which value monogamous reproductive heterosexuality at the expense of other non-normative sexual expressions. In recent years, however, autonomous queer spaces such as the global Queeruption gatherings and other queer community spaces in Australia have become increasingly concerned with the presence and danger of sexual violence in queer communities. Almost without exception, this danger has been responded to through the creation of ‘safe(r) spaces’ policies, generally consisting of a set of guidelines and proscribed behaviours which individuals must agree to in order to participate in or attend the event or space. The guidelines themselves tend to privilege of sexual politics of affirmative verbal consent, insisting that such consent should be sought prior to any physical or sexual contact, inferring that a failure to do so is ethically unacceptable within. This chapter reflects on the attempts to construct queer communities as ‘safer spaces,’ arguing that the concepts of consent and safety are inadequate to develop a queer response to sexual violence. Such a response, it argues, must be based on the openness to possibilities and refusal of sexual restrictions and regulations that have always been central elements of queer theory and politics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationQueer Sexualities
    Subtitle of host publicationDiversifying Queer, Queering Diversity
    EditorsVikki Bell
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84888-218-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Queer spaces
    • consent
    • safety
    • sexual violence
    • sexual ethics
    • radical queers
    • temporary autonomous zones
    • safer spaces

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences(all)


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