Date of Award
Honors Bachelor of Arts
Since Orlando’s first gay bar, The Palace Club, opened in 1969, LGBTQ+ spaces have played an essential role in the Orlando queer community. They have acted as loci of gathering, solidarity, identity-formation, recreation, and even healing. There is an absence of literature on the LGBTQ+ community in Orlando and, more generally, in Central Florida as a whole. The legacy of LGBTQ+ spaces in Orlando is worthy of study due both to the city’s rich queer history and Orlando’s singular experience of the deadliest act of hate-motivated violence against the LGBTQ+ community in the history of the United States. Through documenting the experiences and stories of LGBTQ+ Orlandoans, this thesis seeks to build upon existing in-depth, interview-based qualitative studies of localized LGBTQ+ communities. Key themes that emerged throughout the interviews included the social and political importance of LGBTQ+ spaces, their role in the identity formation of queer individuals, the importance of transient LGBTQ+ spaces such as pride parades and vigils, and the need for more woman-centric LGBTQ+ bars and clubs. In a post-Pulse context, interviewees emphasized their conflicting relationship with LGBTQ+ bars and clubs both as sources of renewed trauma and of potential healing, identified the Pulse massacre as a catalyst to social and political change, and stressed the importance of LGBTQ+ organizations and resources alongside the positive impact of community resilience after the shooting.
Powell, Hannah, "Let’s Escape into the Music: A Cross-Generational Oral History of Orlando LGBTQ+ Spaces" (2018). Honors Program Theses. 95.
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