Projeto de Tese de Doutoramento

(De)Construscting the closet: Insularity as a lens to understand LGBTQ visibilities

Orientação: Ana Cristina Santos e Miguel Vale de Almeida

Programa de Doutoramento: Human Rights in Contemporary Societies

My thesis aims to explore the connections between sexualities and space and its possible relation with insularity. I propose a case study, where the lived experiences of LGBTQ activists and other LGBTQ community members in Azores will be analysed in close relation to the context of insularity. A particular focus will be placed in the construction and development of the Azorean LGBTQ pride events between 2011 and 2021. This particular focus is included with two major aims: first, to conduct a qualitative research of experiences and understandings of LGBTQ activists and community members regarding the relatively successful first pride event in 2012 and its subsequent decline in the following years. My second objective is to gather online discussions/debates and documental analysis surrounding what the Azorean LGBTQ pride events and social movements meant for the participants. I believe that this analysis will provide valuable empirical knowledge for broader theoretical analysis regarding sexualities, politics and space in the context of insularity.

Fieldwork will be conducted in the two most populated Azorean islands - São Miguel and Terceira -, where almost eighty percent of the archipelago's population lives. It will start in São Miguel, as the largest and most populated island, and where the LGBTQ movement started, and, in a second moment, I will gather empirical data in Terceira, which is vernacularly known as the "gay island". Data will consist of grey literature produced by organizations and collectives, on site observation (of events, debates, etc), online research and 20 semi-structured interviews with LGBTQ activists and other community members in both locations.

Data will then be explored through the lenses of Queer Theory, LGBTQ Studies, Gender Studies and Geography of Sexualities to understand if insularity can be an important analytical category when discussing LGBTQ politics and experiences. Moreover, through this work I hope to be contributing for the national archive on Portuguese queer visibility and experiences that remains scarce, especially regarding the Portuguese insular setting.