Queer urban trauma and its spatial politics: A lesson from social movements in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

Gilly Hartal, Chen Misgav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Growing attention has been devoted to the political geography of urban social movements but trauma, its urban context and spatial politics, have been significantly neglected. This paper aims to develop the concept of ‘queer urban trauma’ and its aftermath in the sense of urban and spatial activism, through an analysis of two traumatic events for the LGBT community in Israel. It explains how traumatic events taking place within urban contexts affect the spatial politics of LGBT and queer urban activism. Based on geographies of sexualities and queer theory, this paper aims to fill this gap by analysing traumatic events in two Israeli cities: the 2009 shooting of two young queers in a youth club in Tel Aviv, and the 2015 stabbing of a young girl during the Jerusalem Pride Parade. Tel Aviv is considered the liberal centre of Israel and a local ‘gay heaven’, as well as a destination for global gay tourism. Jerusalem on the other hand is usually described with a sense of alienation among LGBT and queer individuals and movements, where every political, spatial, cultural and financial achievement is a struggle. We argue that the politics of trauma are constructed differently in these two urban settings, producing important nuances of urban activism and politics. Through this empirical discussion, we develop the concept of ‘queer urban trauma’, revealing divergent forms of spatial visibility, presence and activity of the queer movements within urban spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1483
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • LGBT activism
  • Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
  • memorialisation
  • queer urban trauma
  • urban social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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