What is Queer Space?

“Queer space is simply that which allows us to be in right relationship with change, that which teaches us to move between worlds, to shapeshift, to learn and teach the skills necessary to gestate and conceive our own worlds,” says writer and community organizer, Ailo Ribas, in her contribution to the recent book Queer Spaces: An Atlas of LGBTQIA+ Places and Stories (RIBA 2022). Late theorist, José Esteban Muñoz wrote in his book, Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (NYU Press, 2009) that, “Queerness is not yet here. Queerness is an ideality.” And in his seminal 1997 text Queer Space: The Architecture of Same Sex Desire, Aaron Betsky passionately argued that, “The purpose of queer space is ultimately sex.” All of these things are true, because ultimately queer spaces can hold multiple perspectives at once, often including infinite possibilities within their walls.

Here’s a selection of various Metropolis articles that have, over the years, provided answers and sparked even more questions for what queer space actually is.

Design and Gender

Over the years, trans and gender non-conforming people have faced persistent discrimination based on which toilet they use, what sports team they play on, and even which side of the store they shop for their clothes, among numerous other things. These projects aim to move beyond the binary.

Books & Profiles

Just as there have always been queer people, there have always been queer designers. These books and profiles highlight their multi-faceted stories.


Six Initiatives Model Ways to Practice True Design Justice

Across the globe, architects, designers, and planners are redefining what it means to be an advocate in the design professions.

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Research and Resources

In their own words, LGBTQ+ architects, designers, and students share what Pride and “Queer Space” mean to them. Their responses strengthen our understanding of what queer design can be while also providing a sense of visibility and validation within the queer community.

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