In Graduate school, gay clubs became my field site.
When I arrived at the Central European University, the first meeting I attended was for the LGBTQ student group. I went alone, entered late, and sat at the back. One by one, every person in the room introduced themselves, and after going over general plans and expectations for the year, we headed to Anker’t, a ruin pub in the area. I made friends and found a community. Shortly after, a small group of students invited me to a gay club in the city center. I walked into a complex space: three dancefloors, multiple bars, minimal light and although quite frankly I was terrified, I felt lighter.
I ordered a drink, I walked around and then I danced, and danced. I looked around and saw intimacy that I had, for so long, been told was not ok, being publicly shown and without noticeable fear. I felt free. I sought out more spaces like it, not only in Budapest, but everywhere I traveled after: Austria, Germany, Belgium, France. And in each of those places, I felt something similar. This freedom, this safety kept returning. In class, as I studied the relations of power, and the means through which they are organized, my original question was complicated, but it remained: for queer people like me, where can liberation be found, if at all? Where can safety be felt?