Media and Publications

Queer Cosmopolitanism in the Disaster Zone: “My Grindr Became the United Nations”

Jonathan Corpus Ong
University of Massachusetts Amherst


This article reflects on the significance of cosmopolitan socialities and intimacies following disasters, and the opportunities and risks they offer for restorative and reparative action for survivors and their communities. Reporting in particular on the experiences of LGBTQ Filipinos in post-Haiyan Tacloban, I discuss how the presence of foreign aid workers in everyday social spaces provided opportunities for queer identity expression and social attachments. I argue that cosmopolitan socialities, including new connections initiated via mobile dating platforms, were embraced by LGBTQs for their potential to share and repurpose wounds after rupture, especially in a conservative small-town context where LGBTQ identities have been historically repressed. This article attends to the opportunities and risks of queer cosmopolitanism as an uneven experience between middle-class and low-income LGBTQs.

Ong, Jonathan Corpus. (forthcoming, 2017). “Queer Cosmpolitanism in the Disaster Zone: “My Grindr Became the United Nations.“ International Communication Gazette.

More Stories

The Network
The Newton Tech4Dev Network research team is led by Dr. Jonathan Corpus Ong, Prof. Peter Lunt, and Prof. Julio C. Teehankee.