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Identity, Mobility, and the Practice of Urban Place-Making: Exploring Urban Gay Life in Manila

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Abstract:

I explore the interpretation and uses of Malate, an ex-sex and current tourist district in the City of Manila, the Philippines, as an emergent “gay” space for two different yet mutually reliant patrons of this urban enclave—Filipino gay hosts and foreign gay tourists. The presentation is drawn from a thirteen month ethnographic study in Manila, from January 2000 to February 2001. I focus on the ways in which urban place-making and identity formation happen through the social relations of travel/mobility thus demonstrating that sexual identities are not made from unitary flows of culture but through transnational and migratory experiences of mobility and urban place. I discuss key parallels between gay hosts and gay travelers as they frame Malate as a “free,” performative, and imaginary space—they “come Out,” express same-sex desire, and consume the visibility of urban gay life. This comparison requires keen attention to the ways in which the needs, desires, and possibilities of hosts and travelers are mitigated by their class positions and through hierarchies of racial privilege. I thus offer a more nuanced exploration of identity reconstitution within the context of transnational urban spaces.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

gay (255), malat (137), host (96), travel (95), sexual (80), urban (67), place (66), ident (59), foreign (55), space (55), experi (53), men (51), relat (40), sex (35), life (33), district (32), social (32), express (32), bar (28), manila (26), differ (25),

Author's Keywords:

transnational sexualities, tourism, sexual labor, urban place
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Name: American Sociological Association
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http://www.asanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Collins, Dana. "Identity, Mobility, and the Practice of Urban Place-Making: Exploring Urban Gay Life in Manila" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA,, Aug 14, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p109589_index.html>

APA Citation:

Collins, D. , 2004-08-14 "Identity, Mobility, and the Practice of Urban Place-Making: Exploring Urban Gay Life in Manila" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA, Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p109589_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: I explore the interpretation and uses of Malate, an ex-sex and current tourist district in the City of Manila, the Philippines, as an emergent “gay” space for two different yet mutually reliant patrons of this urban enclave—Filipino gay hosts and foreign gay tourists. The presentation is drawn from a thirteen month ethnographic study in Manila, from January 2000 to February 2001. I focus on the ways in which urban place-making and identity formation happen through the social relations of travel/mobility thus demonstrating that sexual identities are not made from unitary flows of culture but through transnational and migratory experiences of mobility and urban place. I discuss key parallels between gay hosts and gay travelers as they frame Malate as a “free,” performative, and imaginary space—they “come Out,” express same-sex desire, and consume the visibility of urban gay life. This comparison requires keen attention to the ways in which the needs, desires, and possibilities of hosts and travelers are mitigated by their class positions and through hierarchies of racial privilege. I thus offer a more nuanced exploration of identity reconstitution within the context of transnational urban spaces.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 20
Word count: 7982
Text sample:
Identity mobility and the practice of urban place-making: Exploring urban gay life in Manila Gay travelers and Filipino gay hosts both travel to an ex-sex and current tourist district Malate in the City of Manila the Philippines. They travel and they encounter urban place finding that they must negotiate a rapidly changing urban locale as well as the destabilization of their sexual identities. Both groups experience urban place as profoundly meaningful; it inspires their social imagination and public performances.
“Manila’s New Metropolitan Form.” Pp. 285-313 in Discrepant Histories: Translocal Essays on Filipino Cultures edited by V. L. Rafael. Manila Philippines: Anvil Publishing. Tan Michael L. 1995. “From Bakla to Gay: Shifting Gender Identities and Sexual Behaviors in the Philippines.” Pp. 85-96 in Conceiving Sexuality: Approaches to Sex Research in a Postmodern World edited by R. G. Parker and J. H. Gagnon. New York: Routledge. ------. 1999. “Walking the Tightrope: Sexual Risk and Male Sex Work in the Philippines.”


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