Organised sessions

If you want to present as part of one of these sessions, please contact the organisers using the contact details provided.

List of confirmed organised sessions

(click any session for details, including organiser contact details for submitting an abstract)

Getting Comfy – creating and experiencing comfortable spaces for different sexualities

Getting Comfy – creating and experiencing comfortable spaces for different sexualities

Nick McGlynn (n.mcglynn2@brighton.ac.uk)

Session type: Presentations

Language: Chosen by participants

The ‘safe space’ has become a common concept for evaluating and critiquing the geographies of sexualities, both in and out of the academy (Pascar et al 2018). Safety alludes to freedom from abuse, violence, even death. It is ‘obviously’ political, in that institutions, organisations and groups at scales from local to national to global engage in policymaking and activism explicitly oriented around the production of safety for sexual minorities. Some scholars studying safe spaces have noted a frequent discursive pairing of ‘safety’ with ‘comfort’ (Held 2015; Hartal 2018). Comfort may seem less ‘obviously’ political than safety – few institutions would prioritise the production of ‘comfortable spaces’. It may even be seen as reactionary or an expression of privilege. Yet as Held (2015) and Boulila (2015) have shown, comfort is a crucial way in which inclusion (and exclusion) for multiply-marginalised people is not just felt but is made to happen. Safety itself can often be understood as a feeling of inclusion and mutual acceptance (e.g Formby 2017:69-72; Roestone 2014:1352), so that for a space to be safe it might need to be a comfortable space (e.g. Hartal 2018).

This session invites scholars and researchers to explore a) the creation and b) the experience of ‘comfortable spaces’ relating to sexualities. ‘Comfort’ might relate to a variety of emotional, affective and physical responses including relaxation, being at ease, a lack of tension, cosiness, and more. ‘Sexualities’ is taken in the broadest sense, so that presentations might focus on LGBTQ+ communities, on heterosexualities, on fetish/kink communities, on asexualities and nonsexualities, and more.

Presentations of a variety of types are welcomed, beyond standard presented papers.


Universities amidst culture wars – safe spaces or battlefields?

Universities amidst culture wars – safe spaces or battlefields?

Veronika Valkovičová (Veronika.valkovicova@uniba.sk) and Shaban Darakchi (shaban.darakchiev@gmail.com)

Session type: Presentations

Language: Chosen by presenters

Gender and sexuality research faces crossroads (Engeli 2020). Although it may seem as if the institutionalization of gender and sexuality research within higher education has reached unprecedented levels, in many regions across the globe, scholars find themselves in the middle of anti-gender mobilizations and culture wars (Barša et al. 2021). Although universities fuel more and more money into diversity and inclusion policies and public relations, those setting out for academic jobs are weary not only of the precarity of such careers, but also of the epistemic de-legitimization of their research (Boulila et al. 2019). Epistemic boundary work has been discussed before (Do Mar Pereira 2016, Ahmed 2017); at times, it has been as if gender and sexuality scholars have experienced symbolic exile from within academic institutions, while others face actual political exile because their work is threatening to the elites and their desired political and social order (Valkovičová and Maďarová 2023). Those who can conduct such research face difficult dilemmas. For example, while still expected to promote their research among the general public, scholars wonder how their workplaces protect them when (rather than if) they become targets of harassment and abuse (Paternotte and Verloo 2020). While Gender Equality Plans promoted by Horizon Europe expect us to build up trauma-informed organizations, the emotional labor enshrined in such work weighs heavily even without being charged with “wokism.” What are the specific experiences of academic institutions, researchers, and their projects stuck in culture wars? Do we find common trends across regions? How can we find ways out as places of freedom of thought but at the same time as places that should reflect privilege and oppression?


Contemporary perspectives on Pride events

Contemporary perspectives on Pride events

Dr. Gilly Hartal, Bar Ilan University (gilly.hartal@biu.ac.il)
Ass. Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Sommerlad, University Trier
Dr. Adi Moreno, The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yaffo
Dr. Yossi David, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Session type: Presentations

Language: Chosen by presenters

Pride Events produced significant changes in LGBTQ+ histories, and have gone through temporal and spatial changes diversifying their participants, organizations, repertoire, and settings. Recently there has been an increase in pride events across urban and rural locations (Ammaturo, 2016). Over the last several decades, pride events have had different roles, which produced social and political changes: increase in visibility; production of occasions and room for protesting for equality; LGBTQ+ community augmentation; enhancing LGBTQ+ representation; accumulation of resources and more (Ammaturo, 2016, 2023; Armstrong and Crage, 2006; Browne, 2007; Renkin, 2015; Stella, 2013).


Some of these achievements are shadowed by disagreements regarding pride politics (Hartal, 2019; Formby, 2023), specifically concerning inclusion and diversity within pride events (Eisner, 2012; Barrientos et al., 2010; Radoman, 2016; Scott, 2017; Esteves & Pieri, 2023), commercialization (Conway, 2022), colonial and decolonial politics (Plakhotnik & Mayerchyk 2023) and de-politicization (Browne, 2007; Markwell and Waitt, 2009) and even co-option of pride events (Hartal & Sasson-Levy, 2016; Ammaturo, 2016). Simultaneously, pride events produce opportunities for solidarity and care, inter-generational politics (Hartal, Moreno & David, 2023), and forging new alliances.


This session focuses on pride events tensions, politics, spaces, and temporalities on a variety of scales and in diverse locations. The session invites contributions that focus on pride events and politics in diverse places, in and out of Europe, and on various scales. Contributions are invited to submit proposals focusing on (but not limited to) the following themes:

  • Pride as spaces of encounter
  • Pride events and queer temporalities
  • Pride politics and organizations
  • Changing landscapes of pride events
  • Coalitions and pride events
  • Pride events from a life span perspective
  • Commodification and commercialization of pride events
  • LGBTphobia in pride events
  • Violence, sexual harassment, and pride events
  • Homonationalism and homonormativity and pride events
  • Challenges to pride events, heteroactivism, and forms of resistance
  • Pride accessibility, diversity, and inclusion
  • Gaps and cohesion between queer politics and pride parade
  • De-centering western legacies of pride events

Unruly Dis/comfort: ‘Unsexy Spaces’ and Later-in-Life Sex

Unruly Dis/comfort: ‘Unsexy Spaces’ and Later-in-Life Sex

Giulia Nazzaro (giulia.nazzaro@ugent.be) and Gabriëlle de Pooter (gabrielle.depooter@ugent.be)

Session type: Presentations

Language: Chosen by presenters

Geographers have pointed out the need not to turn a blind eye to so-called ‘unsexy spaces’, which tend to be mapped outside of sexuality (Hubbard, 2008; Nast, 1998). Due to the perceived lack of sexual practices, these places appear to be comfortable for those who adhere to normative sexual practices and uncomfortable for those who do not. Yet, when looking at later-in-life sex and intimacy, such unrecognized heteronormativity remains little explored and undertheorized. Ageist erotophobia, disgust and discomfort with older people’s sexuality has framed spaces inhabited by older people with dependency, frailty and even abjection (Gilleard & Higgs, 2011; Przybylo, 2019) . Later-in-life sex and space are thus mutually reinforcing through the idea of ‘unsexiness’.

This panel addresses the centrality of ‘unsexy spaces’ and invites exploration of how sex and intimacy are experienced in these spaces in later life. In particular, it explores how age redefines unruly strategies that emphasize ‘dis/comfort’ as forms of resistance to power in such spaces. ‘Dis/comfort’ is an affective analytical tool for tracing power inequalities in sexuality and intimacy (Bahner & Lindroth, 2023; Chadwick, 2021; De Graeve & De Craene, 2019; Javaid, 2020) and is closely related to the political potential of unruliness and other counter-hegemonic practices (Bracke et al., 2017; Halberstam, 2011). In response to the recent call by feminist geographers to think about dis/comfort in spaces to critically engage with power differentials (Eaves et al., 2023; McNally et al., 2021), this panel will explore how forms of dis/comfort are integral to nuanced understandings of later-life sexual politics and practices in spaces deemed ‘unsexy’.

We would particularly welcome proposals relating, but not limited, to the following:

  • empirical and theoretical reflections of unruly later in life sex in unsexy spaces;
  • unruly methods to explore sex in later life in unsexy spaces;
  • later-in-life strategies of resistance around sex and space;
  • reflections on researcher’s dis/comfort in researching unsexy spaces and/or later life sexuality;
  • LGBTQ later life sex in unsexy spaces;
  • intersectionality in later life sex and unsexy spaces;
  • the role of more-than-human strategies of resistance in later life and unsexy spaces.

We welcome contributions from geographers and scholars from other disciplines who are concerned with sex in later life, unsexy spaces or the combination of both. Contributions will be accepted in the form of papers as well as other formats of research presentation (e.g. film).


(Un)Comfortable Homemaking: Exploring the Geographies of LGBTIQ+ Migrants and Refugees in Europe

(Un)Comfortable Homemaking: Exploring the Geographies of LGBTIQ+ Migrants and Refugees in Europe

Rieke Schröder (risc@dps.aau.dk); Diego Garcia Rodriguez (Diego.Garciarodriguez@nottingham.ac.uk); Calogero Giametta (c.giametta@le.ac.uk)

Session type: Presentations

Language: Chosen by presenters

This panel delves into the multifaceted experiences of LGBTIQ+ migrants, asylum seekers and refugees as they navigate (un)comfortable spaces in Europe. With a focus on the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality, disability, age, and religion, the presentations aim to analyse the multifaceted challenges that queer migrant and asylum-seeking people face. As these individuals endeavour to carve out a sense of home for themselves, their experiences are profoundly influenced by the specific locations where they find themselves.
This panel’s presentations will critically examine diverse spaces and temporalities that LGBTIQ+ migrants and refugees navigate, including asylum accommodations, faith-based and support group spaces. While LGBTIQ+ asylum support groups strive to create comfortable spaces for their members, the existence of power dynamics shaped by racialisation and fetishisation is often evident. The panel will also foreground how during asylum and migration processes, religion plays a critical role, especially for LGBTIQ+ individuals. The intersection of religious beliefs and LGBTIQ+ identities often complicates their asylum claims, as they face unique challenges in proving the persecution they flee while also navigating religious biases within the asylum system. Finally the panel will explore how migration and mobilities of LGBTIQ+ people preceded the possibility of applying for asylum through looking at the experiences of ageing queer people and the different social worlds they inhabited.
By offering a nuanced understanding of the spatial dynamics inherent in the homemaking experiences of LGBTIQ+ migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, this panel significantly contributes to the European Geographies of Sexualities Conference. This panel seeks to expand scholarly discussions on queer migrations and asylum within Europe, thereby enhancing the understanding of the challenges encountered by gender and sexual minorities in their pursuit of belonging and comfort through migration.


Queer Temporalities in the city: personal and theoretical aspects

Queer Temporalities in the city: personal and theoretical aspects.

David Joseph Bibi (david.bibi@campus.technion.ac.il); Chen Misgav; Iris Aravot

Session type: Presentations

Language: English

Queer time has served as a conceptual tool, suggested two decades ago, for challenging heteronormative temporal structures of life, and for a more flexible and non-linear approach to identity expression (Halberstam, 2005). This conceptualization has been further developed across various dimensions, including studies on queer activism (Binnie & Klesse, 2013), media (Needham, 2008), research (Rooke, 2022), politics (Rao, 2020), and numerous other areas. Queer temporalities involve multiple aspects: alternative ways of experiencing and understanding time; disruption of normative temporality and time epistemologies; and questioning the phenomenology of the present and historiography of the past.
Queer temporalities in the city session aims to explore the ways in which time is experienced, constructed, and perceived by LGBTQ+ individuals and communities within the context of urban environments. The intricate interplay between sexuality, gender identity, and the temporal dimensions can be examined in a personal and/or theoretical manner, addressing various temporal narratives. The subjective experience of time can shape the felt space and its experience, and contribute to an intensified awareness of the temporal dimension within the context of discomfort.

The themes include but are not limited to:

  • Alternative temporalities/alternative spaces of LGBTQ+ individuals
  • Queer disruption of timelines and the temporality of uncomfortable spaces
  • Online spaces and queer digital temporalities
  • Queer fluidity in urban contexts
  • Intersection of identities and temporalities
  • Political and/or legal LGBTQ+ temporalities
  • Emotions and temporality in the city
  • Urban narratives of temporality
  • Temporality and queer atmosphere in the city
  • “More than temporality “in the city, or spaces in a post-temporal era.

Building Narratives of Older LGBTQ+ Lives in Southern Europe

Building Narratives of Older LGBTQ+ Lives in Southern Europe

Ana Lúcia Santos (analucia@ces.uc.pt)

Session type: Panel discussion

Language: English

Focused on the experiences of older LGBTQ+ people in Southern Europe, this panel explores the multifaceted dimensions of personal and collective memories in changing social, spatial, legal and historical contexts, all viewed through the distinctive lens of queer ageing. Recognising the complexities of these experiences, including how comfort and discomfort are perceived by different social groups, particularly those who are oppressed based on sexual orientation or gender identity, our panel will cover insightful conversations about the social environments, legal systems, and life stories related to LGBTQ+ ageing in different European contexts, fostering a comprehensive exploration of the intersections between history, memory, invisibility, and lived experiences.

The panel is a collaborative initiative organised within the research projects REMEMBER, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), and TRACE, funded by the European Research Council (ERC), both ongoing at the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (CES-UC), Portugal.


Comfort and the city: towards a multiscalar and mobile approach of safe spaces and discomfort

Comfort and the city: towards a multiscalar and mobile approach of safe spaces and discomfort

Charlotte Briend (charlotte.briend@orange.fr); Noémie Gailhac Calixte; Clément Nicolle

Session type: Individual presentations

Language: French and English

Safe spaces have largely been used in geographies of gender and sexualities to counterbalance feelings of discomfort and fear in cities (Kenney, 2001; Hanhardt, 2013). Studies have largely focused on securitized fixed and localized places, limited within a perimeter of space and time, to indicate safeness and hence comfort for marginalized groups. However, recent works have highlighted a more fluid and ephemeral approach to understanding comfort within urban contexts (Roestone Collective, 2014; Bonté, 2022).

In line with these works, this session aims to further develop the concept of safe spaces through a multiscalar and mobile perspectives outside the usual dichotomies of private-public, safe-unsafe, comfortable-uncomfortable, fixed-mobile. The focus on urban contexts aims to encompass a great diversity of typologies, places, scales, and practices and therefore presents an opportunity to explore different variations of dis/comfort (Oswin, 2013).

In order to do so, we welcome papers that address alternative practices to create safety or to navigate discomfort in cities. From the scale of the body to the scale of the city, across different urban contexts, we encourage papers based on empirical and/or theoretical frameworks to participate on the renewed debate around the notion of safe spaces. Intersectional approaches are particularly welcome to highlight how gender, sexuality, class, and race maintain different levels (and scales) of safe spaces and comfort within the city.


Reimagining Bodies and Spaces: queer and feminist perspectives on censorship, expression, and normativity

Reimagining bodies and spaces: queer and feminist perspectives on censorship, expression, and normativity

Michal Pitoňák (michal.pitonak@queergeography.cz); Veronika Valkovičová

Session type: Individual presentations

Language: All accepted

In a rapidly evolving social landscape where the dichotomy of expression and censorship takes center stage, we invite scholars, activists, and thinkers to contribute to a critical discussion at the European Geographies of Sexualities Conference. Our focal theme, “Reimagining Bodies and Spaces: Queer and Feminist Perspectives on Censorship, Expression, and Normativity,” seeks to unravel the complexities of societal norms, intersectionality, and the power dynamics that shape both our understanding of freedom, equity, and diversity, as well as our bodies, spaces, and their perception.

We may often encounter a narrative that portrays a past replete with “order” and “simplicity,” which draws a stark contrast to today’s perceived chaos and decay in cultural norms (Edenborg, 2021; Graff & Korolczuk, 2022; Pitoňák, 2023). This nostalgic longing for a “sensible” past is frequently juxtaposed with contemporary concerns about political correctness, cancel culture, and a supposed crisis in freedom of expression (Browne et al., 2021; Nash et al., 2021). Such discourses, often labeled conservative or illiberal, reflect societal changes and impact our lived experiences and abilities to express ourselves freely (Browne & Nash, 2017; Paternotte & Kuhar, 2018). However, have these narratives influenced our everyday lives, particularly in public spaces? How are spaces impacted by censorship policies and discourses? To what extent have they affected our actual and experienced freedoms? Are we freer or less free? What is the relationship between the one who censors, the one who is censored, and the one who says they are afraid of censorship? How does this discussion of censorship relate to emancipation of our bodies, genders, and freedoms of expression – who is freer and who is less free?

In this session, we particularly invite submissions that may explore the following:

  • Spatial dynamics of (freedom) of expression and censorship:
    • Examining how public and private spaces influence and/or are influenced by the dynamics of censorship and freedom of expression.
    • Analyses of spatial heterogeneity in the experiences and impacts of ‘cancel culture’ and political correctness.
  • Geographies of gender normativity and resistance to it:
    • Exploring spatial variations in the experiences of individuals conforming to or challenging normative gender expectations.
    • Delving into the ways spatial contexts shape and are shaped by intersecting identities and power relations.
    • Assessing how public and private spaces are negotiated and contested in the pursuit of equity and diversity.
  • Spatial politics of morality and ideological backlashes:
    • Analyses of geographic dimensions of morality politics, focusing on “gender ideology”, morality entrepreneurs and their roles in the current “anti-LGBTQ+ backlashes”
    • Examining the role of public and private space, comfort and sources of ontological (in)security or epistemic uncertainty in the emergence and resistance of “morality entrepreneurs” wider or global “morality geopoliticians”.

The Invisibility of Bisexuality Research: looking for bisexual presences and absences in geographies of sexualities

The Invisibility of Bisexuality Research: looking for bisexual presences and absences in geographies of sexualities

Júlia Pascual Bordas (julia.pascual@upf.edu), Maria Rodó-Zárate, Valerie De Craene, Juliana Inez Luiz de Souza

Session type: Individual presentations

Language: English, Spanish, Portuguese

While geographies of sexualities have extensively explored diverse identities within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, research on bisexuality remains notably scarce, or only mentioned as part of the ‘alphabet soup’, with few exceptions (see Maliepaard, 2020; Maliepaard & Baumgartner, 2020; Monro, 2015; Turai, 2019; Turai, 2020). Recognizing this persistent gap, initially highlighted by Bell in 1995, prompts a critical reevaluation of the field’s approach to bisexuality, emphasizing an exploration of the underlying reasons for its historical invisibility.

A plausible hypothesis suggests that the inadequate study of bisexuality may be linked to terminology issues. This could lead to the mislabeling of individuals within broader classifications and dominant sexual identities such as ‘heterosexual,’ ‘lesbian,’ or ‘gay,’ potentially overlooking their authentic self-identification. Moreover, societal perceptions may contribute to viewing bisexuality as a transitional stage rather than a distinct sexual orientation, prompting researchers to consider terms like pansexuality or queer as more apt reflections of the gender spectrum. In response, we raise the question of whether existing research on bisexuality might be concealed under different terms, necessitating a reevaluation of where and how to uncover this crucial discourse.

Research conducted in the US (Russell et al, 2009; Katz-Wise, 2015), UK (Coleman-Fountain, 2014), Australia (Grant and Nash, 2020) or Flanders (Dhoest, 2022) show that younger generations tend to identify in more fluid terms in relation to labels and that they are more likely to identify as bisexual or queer than to identify as lesbian or gay.
This demographic shift not only sparks inquiries into the construction of bisexual identities but also underscores the potential reinforcement of invisibility when research on bisexuality is lacking. The absence of dedicated bisexual spaces compels bisexual individuals into the margins of gay, lesbian, and heterosexual environments, further amplifying their invisible existence (Eisner, 2013; Hemmings, 2002; Maliepaard, 2020). This call explores how this dynamic manifests within the geographies of sexualities, and it examines the challenges and opportunities it presents for researching ‘bisexuality.’

Taking these considerations into account, we extend an invitation to scholars to participate in uncomfortable conversations, creating a dedicated space to delve into the presences and absences of bisexuality within geographies of sexualities. This session aims to stimulate dialogue on the spatialities of attraction to multiple genders, shedding light on the challenges and possibilities inherent in researching diverse forms of ‘bisexuality.’


Queer Refugees in “Queer Utopias”: Inclusion & Exclusion in Northern Europe

Queer Refugees in “Queer Utopias”: Inclusion & Exclusion in Northern Europe

Guðbjörg Ottósdóttir, Árdís Ingvars

Session type: Individual presentations

Language: English

This panel provides presentations based on preliminary findings from an Icelandic research project that aims to generate knowledge on social experiences of people who flee persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression (SOGIE) of reception, inclusion, and deportation in a transnational context, with a particular focus on deportation to Italy and Greece. The project in addition makes a comparison with research data in a Dutch context, as a country also hailed for gay exceptionalism. Ideas of SOGIE refugee identities being false and requiring an extra burden of proof are pervasive in asylum systems and influence professional practices, alongside racialized perceptions. SOGIE refugees are also deported to countries known for homo- and transphobic hate crimes. SOGIE refugees must navigate conflicting legal, social, and cultural discourses on gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity, which characterize the varied social and digital spaces they are involved in.

For queer refugees, the transmigration of queerness potentially entails juggling different sexual and gender identities that afford different kinds of opportunities and challenges in different national and social contexts and managing how these identities interconnect. This, in return, produces an ontological (un)settlement as new and old spaces are navigated through aspirational intentions but haunted with memories of rejections. The researchers will present analyses of qualitative interviews and ethnographic material with queer refugees in Iceland, those deported to Greece and Italy, with professionals in social services in Iceland, and with immigration officers in the Dutch asylum system. The presentations draw on theoretical the perspectives, such as, homo(trans)nationalism, bordering, futurity, queer temporality, space and place, politics of belonging, affective (un)belonging, postcolonialism, critical race theory, queer of color critique and giving an account of oneself.


On The Edge: questioning the urban periphery as an uncomfortable space for LGBTQ* people

On The Edge: questioning the urban periphery as an uncomfortable space for LGBTQ* people

Bastian Neuhauser (b.neuhauser@uu.nl), Florent Chossière, Axel Ravier

Session type: Individual presentations

Language: English, French

This panel examines the presence, spatial practices and governance of LGBTQ* minorities in the peripheries of major cities. The study of sexuality has a longstanding urban bias, with an extensive focus on the central city ‘gaybourhoods’ of large metropolitan areas (Halberstam 2005). We often imagine these areas as the exclusive spaces of visibility, autonomy and security, as comfortable spaces of expression for gender and sexuality minorities. While rural areas and ‘ordinary cities’ have attracted academic attention (Brown 2008, 2019), so too have suburbs (Podmore and Bain 2020, 2021) in efforts to better understanding queer conditions in the less-than-urban outskirts of cities (Ravier, 2022). In some cases, LGBTQ* communities, and especially those who are intersectionally marginalized, are being pushed out of rapidly gentrifying city centers into less desirable, precarious peripheries. In others, a more affluent suburban context is thought of as a site of heteronormativity and its homonormative adaptations.

This panel focuses on how inequalities are produced and maintained in the representation, governance and urban planning practices involving diverse LGBTQ* communities. At the same time, it critically interrogates the reductive imaginations of the peripheries as one-dimensional spaces of discomfort and exclusion, and encourages papers that give a voice to the lifestyles, collective mobilisations and place-making practices of LGBTQ* people on the outskirts of major conurbations. How do the lived experiences of LGBTQ* people reframe the binary opposition between “centre” and “periphery”? Which centre-periphery relations and mobilities do these processes entail? What does periphery mean for sexual and gender minorities? How do heteronormativity and cisnormativity, but also homonormativity, specifically apply in those spaces? How and to what extent to peripheral spaces provide specific resources for LGBTQ* people? What modes of action and repertoires are used by LGBTQ* individuals and community organizations? How, if at all, do peripheral municipal policies accommodate and account for queerness?


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