Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

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Homonegative Labyrinth of Representational Distortions: Planning Im/Possibilities for Higher Education LGBTQ+ Students in Mumbai

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Abstract:  This article accentuates higher education LGBTQ+ (HE-LGBTQ+) students’ lived experiences of off-campus housing in the Deonar Campus District of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. It is observed that key urban stakeholders such as brokers, landowners, neighborhood resident families, and hostel wardens informed by cis-heteronormative moralities work in tandem in shaping the student housing market. The article argues, first, that these powerful urban stakeholders collectively contribute to two mutually feeding phenomena—”studentphobia” and “cis-heteronormative familification”—which in turn effectuate a homonegative labyrinth of representational distortions of the HE-LGBTQ+ student-image. Secondly, when compounded with an increasingly unaffordable urban housing market in the finance capital of India, it results in relatively acute experiences of “spatial dysphoria” for HE-LGBTQ+ students that cannot be comprehended within the neat binary of socio-spatial un/belonging. Methodologically, this article takes a trans-disciplinary approach to analyze the spatial stories of disbelonging of 13 HE-LGBTQ+ students that follow three stages: (a) securing a home, (b) making a home, and (c) leaving home. The article concludes that what is needed to enable a sense of belonging for HE-LGBTQ+ students in India is not necessarily “LGBTQ+ inclusive” or, for that matter, “exclusively LGBTQ+” housing; rather, it is for planning practices to take on queer and trans approaches that undo cis-heteronormativity in urban housing and homes.

Keywords:  cis-heteronormative familification; homonegativity; India; LGBT+; spatial dysphoria; student housing; studentphobia



© Chan Arun-Pina. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.