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Visibility is Survival: The Chocolate Maps of Black Gay Life in Urban Ethnography

Urban Ethnography

ISBN: 978-1-78769-034-9, eISBN: 978-1-78769-033-2

Publication date: 22 October 2019


Drawing on shared research and educational trajectories, the authors illustrate the importance and challenge of tracing Black gay social life in urban ethnography. This chapter investigates the ephemeral nature of Black gay geographies using live experience and data collection from Los Angeles. Guided by Joseph Beam’s (1984) key sociological insight, we offer and amplify a new warrant for urban ethnography emergent from the study of Black and LGBTQ life, visibility is survival. In so doing, we aim to underscore the importance of ethnographic inquiry to understand the spatial and communal navigation of cities by Black gay people. In examining the unique Black gay maps of a rapidly changing Los Angeles, we articulate the multitude of ways that ethnographic inquiry serves as a correction to the record and a form of documenting threatened histories and everyday realities of Black LGBTQ life.



Hunter, M.A. and Winder, T.J.A. (2019), "Visibility is Survival: The Chocolate Maps of Black Gay Life in Urban Ethnography", Urban Ethnography (Research in Urban Sociology, Vol. 16), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 131-142.



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