The Enclave

“9/7/77- In the Jefferson Memorial, James sent me to the basement to fetch something. I didn’t know what horrors the basement had, so I left Dogmeat with him in the Rotunda- the poor dog could use a rest, we had been walking for days prior. I thought Dogmeat would be safe there. The real horror was when that black virtibird showed up. While I was up to my knees in shit in the sewage pipe, I received a message that everyone in the room had been killed. Those bastards murdered both my dad and my dog on the same day. Fuck the Enclave.”

Fallout Confessions

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Artist and photographer Richard Mosse reveals the stories behind the making of his latest film, ‘The Enclave’ (2013), in the Democratic Republic of Congo, shot entirely on 16mm Infrared film.

This looks effing incredible.

Why lesbians and gay men don’t share space.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

Last month’s edition of Contexts had a fascinating article by Amin Ghaziani titled Lesbian Geographies. Most of us are familiar with the idea of a “gayborhood,” a neighborhood enclave that attracts gay men. It turns out that lesbians have enclaves, too, but they’re not always the same ones.

The image above shows the frequency of same-sex female couples (top) and same-sex male couples (bottom) in U.S. counties. Census data tracks same-sex couples but not individuals, so the conclusions here are based on couples.

What are the differences between where same-sex female and same-sex male couples live?

First, Same-sex female couples are more likely than their male counterparts to live in rural areas. Ghaziani thinks that “cultural cues regarding masculinity and femininity play a part.” As one interviewee told sociologist Emily Kazyak:

If you’re a flaming gay queen, they’re like, “Oh, you’re a freak, I’m scared of you.” But if you’re a really butch woman and you’re working at a factory, I think [living in the midwest is] a little easier.

If being “butch” is normative for people living in rural environments, lesbians who perform masculinity might fit in better than gay men who don’t.

Second, non-heterosexual women are about three times as likely as non-heterosexual men to be raising a child under 18. Whatever a person’s sexual orientation, parents are more likely to be looking for good schools, safe neighborhoods, and non-postage stamp-sized apartments.

Finally, there’s evidence that gay men price lesbians out. Gay men are notorious for gentrifying neighborhoods, but data shows that lesbians usually get there first. When non-heterosexual men arrive, they accelerate the gentrification, often making it less possible for non-heterosexual women to afford to stay. Thanks to the gender pay gap, times two, women living with women don’t generally make as much money as men living with men.

Or, they might leave because they don’t want to be around so many men. Ghaziani writes:

Gay men are still men, after all, and they are not exempt from the sexism that saturates our society. In reflecting on her experiences in the gay village of Manchester, England, one lesbian described gay men as “quite intimidating. They’re not very welcoming towards women.”

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.