As mentioned in my previous post, Fire Island is my favorite place. It is located on Long Island, New York and is considered to be a laid-back getaway where mostly Americans who live in the city travel to during the summer. It can be dated as far back as 1653 when it was first named Whalehouse Point, because of many whales that were being important in the area during that time. Its name was then changed to Fire Island because of the Fire Island Light House that was built to help guide boats out of the harbor. During the 1950’s the island gradually grew into a friendly community of houses all along the beach line, few being owned by celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe. Today is it the most conveniently close island for people in the city to escape too for the weekend, to enjoy the beach and unwind with family and friends. The island crosses 32 miles, making it possible for one to walk or bike from one end to the other. It has always been one of the very few places in the world that does not allow cars on its roads, apart from fire-trucks or ambulances. Its busiest time of year is during the summer when tourist and homeowners go to spend an un-expensive vacation within a friendly environment.
Photo taken by me, during the summer of 2014.
As we mentioned in class, the idea of gender performance related to the idea of queer identity, author Gill Valentine discuses in her paper the idea of an enclosed space that is intimate because of it’s community which only certain bodies are part of and others are excluded from. One can compare this to the idea of Fire Island being seen a specific gender performance location. As Valentine explains, “by claiming space in public, by creating public spaces, social groups themselves become public.” (Valentine. pg. 268), for example, the gay community on the island.
In Fire Island, the gay community can be seen as a dominant form of power that has shaped the overall sense of embodiment and orientation of the island itself, simply by implying to others that the community is larger then what it actually is. Many people only hear about the island as being a strictly gay community, therefor “the identity of spaces and places, like the identities of individuals are frequently given with internal tensions and conflicts” (Valentine. pg. 267). Many have chosen to never visit the island because of this false theory but what many don’t know is that Fire Island is separated between seventeen small communities in which only two are based on having a large gay community but are known for welcoming any visitors. It has always created a distance and a separation of boundaries from those bodies who do visit the island because they then chose to stay in a small sections of the island where they know it is more family friendly.
Workcited: Valentine, Gil. (2005). “(Re)Negotiating the Heterosexual Street: Lesbian Production of Space.” In The Urban Geography Reader. (263-269). London: Routledge
FireIsland. “The #1 Fire Island Website Sience 1996” WordPress. Web. 1st, February. 2015. http://www.fireisland.com/fire-island/bay-front-home-for-sale/
By: Mirelle Lupovici