Afterword—Geographies of Sexuality and Gender ‘Down Under’
Longhurst, R. (2008). Afterword—Geographies of Sexuality and Gender ‘Down Under’. Australian Geographer, 39(3), 381-387.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8329
The specialist sessions on ‘Geographies of Sexuality and Gender ‘‘Down Under’’’at the Australian Geographers’ conference in Melbourne in July 2007, and the subsequent publication of the essays presented here, is long overdue. The editors, in their introduction, explain that the aims of the sessions and this subsequent themed issue are (1) to showcase specifically Australasian-based research on spaces, places and scales of sexuality and gender; and (2) to offer Australasian perspectives on disciplinary debates about sexuality and gender. Undoubtedly these aims have been fulfilled. These essays have been written by scholars in a range of disciplines. Some are emerging scholars, others more senior. It is an eclectic collection containing essays on topics as diverse as young men who surf, and women who ‘come out’ as lesbian only to then ‘come out’ again as heterosexual, and yet key questions about identity, difference, gender, and sexuality underpin all the contributions, which give it a useful cohesion. When I first saw the call for papers for the specialist sessions at the Melbourne conference I was keen to take part. Over the past 15 years or so I have attended a number of New Zealand and Australian geography conference sessions on gender but I cannot recall attending sessions specifically on sexuality, or even on sexuality and gender. The conference in Melbourne, therefore, was a great opportunity but unfortunately it was one I missed (although I co-authored a paper with Lynda Johnston). The blow of this missing out, however, was lessened by an invitation to write the ‘Afterword’ for this collection. I really enjoyed reading the essays. They represent the burgeoning and exciting work on gay, lesbian, queer, feminist and gender geographies currently being carried out by scholars working in and on New Zealand and Australia. Undoubtedly they make a very significant empirical, theoretical and political contribution to the discipline. In the paragraphs that follow I address each of these contributions in turn.
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