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Place, belonging, and more-than-human community: a visual study of older lesbians in rural Tasmania

Grant, R ORCID: 0000-0003-3007-0168 and Walker, B 2021 , 'Place, belonging, and more-than-human community: a visual study of older lesbians in rural Tasmania' , Australian Geographer, vol. 52, no. 4 , pp. 357-372 , doi: 10.1080/00049182.2021.2012317.

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Rural areas have long been represented as unwelcoming to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities. However, demographic trends show that lesbians are more likely than gay men to live in rural Australia, especially as they age. Despite this, little is known about lesbians' motivations for living in these areas, how they experience rural communities, or what aspects of rural places support positive ageing for this group. Lesbian and feminist geographies highlight how lesbians have often cultivated socio-political links with the natural world. Building on this work, in this article we explore how older lesbians experience place-based belonging in rural communities and the role of more-than-human actors in fostering a sense of home. Through in-depth interviews with 13 women over 55 and participant-produced photography, we identified three overarching themes: (1) More-than-human Community; (2) Gardening as Placemaking and Community Building; (3) Belonging and Acknowledging Risk. In contrast with notions of lesbians as being 'out of place' in rural communities, we argue that belonging is established both through human and more-than-human kinships formed in rural places. By visually representing their lives in rural communities, our participants challenged the invisibility of older lesbians and demonstrated how the rural can offer rich possibilities for multi-species futures.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Grant, R and Walker, B
Keywords: ageing, belonging-in-place, photovoice, queer ecology, more-than-human, rural
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Geographer
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0004-9182
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/00049182.2021.2012317
Copyright Information:

© 2021 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.

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