Comparing Cosmopolitan Discourses Across Sexual Landscapes: Montreal’s Gay Village and Mile End District

by Pina Daniel Moreno

Institution: Concordia University
Year: 2015
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2134863
Full text PDF: http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/980928/


Gay spaces have long been a part in the urban landscape of major metropolitan areas in advanced capitalist societies. These urban forms were largely produced in the 1970s and 1980s as safe spaces where LGBTQ individuals could go to escape societal homophobia. In the following decades, these neighbourhoods underwent major urban restructuring associated with broader neoliberal processes of city remaking. In the beginning of the 2000s, a new wave of studies began correlating the neoliberal urban restructuring of gaybourhoods to the production of cosmopolitan spaces. The cosmopolitan discourse has been a driving force in the remaking of major metropolitan areas that wish to attract capital and compete in a global market formed by creative and diversified cities. According to contemporary literature on creative cities, gay neighbourhoods are an essential component in any global city, as they represent diversity and progressiveness. Alongside traditional gay neighbourhoods, new patterns of intra-urban migration among LGBTQ individuals led to the formation of neighbourhoods where sexual identities are not the main marker of the space but queer individuals are welcomed and an active part of the neighbourhood's life. Queer-friendly neighbourhoods are now a reality in the landscapes of major metropolitan areas. In the case of Montreal, the city’s queer-friendly neighbourhood (Mile End) is also home to a creative, young and middle-class population, marking it also as a cosmopolitan space. This research interrogates and compares what kind of cosmopolitan discourses residents of both the gay Village and the Mile End are enacting, producing and performing. The findings of this research indicate that cosmopolitanism is indeed being performed and actively (re)shaping both neighbourhoods. To what extent and what kind of cosmopolitan discourse is employed differs from one space to another and is directly liked to other social and spatial process such as gentrification, safety and urban sexual identities.