I find it critical in my own work to reflect my communities and center experiences of cisgender women, transgender people, and LGBTQ folks who are often marginalized in other ways, whether as immigrant people or people of color. As a result, my dissertation entitled “Everyday Violence: Catcalling and LGBTQ-Directed Aggression in New York City” considers the ways in which anonymous daily interactions between strangers create a hostile public sphere for people who also experience oppression at home, in school, and at work.
Using an intersectional approach in my research has been essential to understanding how race, class, and space feature in gender and sexual formations and connect to racist and classist processes endemic to policing and gentrification. To capture the diversity of experiences in New York City, I conducted participant-observation, over a dozen interviews with men who catcall and enact LGBTQ-directed aggression and over seventy interviews with people on the receiving end of everyday violence.
It was important for me to build a sample that was representative of New York City in terms of race and ethnicity, but one that also reflects tremendous gender and sexual variation. By allowing my participants to self-identify when it came to gender, sexuality, race, class and education, I got insight from people that are generally left out. Not only did I build a significant queer oral history but I concluded that catcalling and LGBTQ-directed aggression have a lasting, cumulative effect on people’s gender and sexual identities, uphold structural inequalities like sexism, homophobia and transphobia and shape racial, class and spatial relations in New York City.