Document Type

Journal Article


This paper examines processes of social cohesion across sexual difference in 'queer-friendly neighbourhoods'-localities that have a heterosexual majority in residential and commercial terms, but where a significant presence of gay and lesbian residents, businesses, and organisations are welcomed. This investigation advances a lineage of work on the development and maintenance of gay and lesbian neighbourhoods, and their role in residents' well-being. The findings also extend understandings of social cohesion, a key theme in neighbourhood and policy research across the West. The context of this study is Australia, where recent projects on social cohesion have focused on public order, economic benefits, and race tensions. However, given that gay men and lesbians are present in Australian social and political debates, sexuality should be integrated into studies about neighbourhood cohesion. To analyse processes of cohesion between heterosexual and same-sex-attracted people, we draw on data from case studies of two queer-friendly neighbourhoods in Australia-the inner-city suburb of Newtown, NSW, and the regional town of Daylesford, Victoria. We discuss the findings in three analytical categories to highlight common processes and characteristics of queer-friendly neighbourhoods: diversity and difference; symbolic landscapes; combating homophobia. © 2009 Pion Ltd and its Licensors.