Lesbian collaborative web mapping: disrupting heteronormativity in Portugal

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Public spaces are constructed around hidden, subtle, non-verbalized and implicit codes of behaviour. These hidden and implicit codes of behaviour are pervasive heteronormative expressions that inscribe socio-spatial landscapes. As a consequence, same-sex public displays of affection are modified, or entirely absent. In the Portuguese sociocultural context public displays of heterosexual and familial affection are common, which prompted us to research how lesbians and bisexual women negotiate same-sex displays of affection in public spaces. The article begins by examining: the co-production of space, gender and sexualities; the pervasive invisibility of lesbian sexualities in public spaces; and the potentialities of participatory geospatial web that connects geographic location to photographs, text and other media shared online. The second half of the article presents the research project ‘Creating Landscapes’. It is argued that a collaboratively created web map by lesbians with positive public space experiences may promote agency and empowerment for lesbian and bisexual women. The article concludes by arguing that creating and sharing collaborative web maps of positive experiences of same-sex public displays of affection can disrupt heteronormativity and create public spaces that are empowering for lesbians and bisexual women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)954-970
Number of pages17
JournalGender Place And Culture
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2015


  • collaborative web mapping
  • heteronormativity
  • lesbians
  • Portugal
  • public spaces
  • sexual orientation


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