TWENTY: The Role of Social Infrastructures for Trans* People During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The relationship of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and cities, and the urban geography of queerness, has been well documented in scholarly literature (Doderer, 2011; Gieseking, 2015). Cities are vital to the LGBTQ movement, and most key activism has taken place in urban centers over the last several decades. In comparison to rural areas, cities serve as spaces of difference. Moreover, the suburbs and suburbanization brought a ‘re- norming’ of the heterosexual family which often made it essential for LGBTQ people to concentrate in cities (Gieseking, 2015: 15). Queering urban spaces has been carried out, resisted, and performed through social infrastructures that have contributed to the establishment of LGBTQ communities by ‘defining themselves via voluntary kinship, social and cultural life (and indeed political demands)’ (Doderer, 2011: 434). Drawing on the concept of social infrastructure (see also Auerbach et al, Chapter Eleven), we outline the ways in which the urban inequities of transgender and gender non- conforming people (trans* people) have changed because of the COVID- 19 pandemic. We situate trans* people’s urban inequities against the backdrop of UK austerity cuts which have undermined social infrastructures vital to LGBTQ communities. We argue that due to these pre- existing conditions, trans* people are disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of social infrastructures of health, community, and housing.

A recent ‘infrastructural turn’ (Amin, 2014) has seen increased attention being paid to infrastructures as a relational concept, as the sociotechnical systems that co- constitute the possibilities of social life in urban spaces.

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