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College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Planning professor and grad student awarded IOP grant

Ozlem Atalay, Petra Doan

The Florida State University Institute of Politics has awarded a grant to Ph.D. candidate Ozlem Atalay and Professor Petra Doan of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning for research on the role of the LGBTQ+ community in city government.

The study, “Understanding Barriers to Full Civic Participation by the LGBTQ Community: The Case of Atlanta,” focuses on the role of the LGBTQ+ Advisory Boards in city decision-making and their role in helping to create a more equal and inclusive city.

The researchers say that although for many years LGBTQ+ community members have been excluded from political life due to both government indifference and ignorance in the community at large, some local municipalities are actively soliciting LGBTQ+ individuals to be more involved in the city decision-making processes. 

In particular, this project explores the motives and operations of Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, established in 2018. The project uses semi-structured interviews with the board members, Atlanta city officials including city planners, and the local LGBTQ+ community on issues about civic engagement, political involvement, politics of urban services, LGBTQ+ inclusion, city rights, representative power of the board and (sexual) citizenship.

The grant amount is $19,540 and runs through the end of June 2021.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the initial round of grants from the Institute of Politics and are eager to begin this work exploring civic engagement with municipal politics by the LGBTQ community,” Doan said. “This field of civic participation has been understudied, and we hope this grant will shed some light on the benefits and complexities of this kind of engagement.”

Atalay entered the doctoral program in 2017. The focus of her research is on the ways that LGBTQ individuals in parts of the Global South, especially in the Middle East, continue to struggle to cope with such issues as housing and employment discrimination, both in the city and rural areas, and limited access to safe public spaces.

In her study of LGBTQ spaces in her native Istanbul, Turkey, Atalay is analyzing several inclusive queer spaces and neighborhoods to understand the effects of national and local government politics, especially the urban planning decisions that lead to rapid gentrification and displacement of individuals from their settlements. She is interested in learning how this community experiences the threat of displacement and in understanding the key elements of urban renewal that have forced such large-scale relocations of highly marginalized groups like the transgender community in Istanbul.

Doan has collaborated previously with Atalay. In late 2019, the two published research on “Making lesbian space at the edge of Europe: Queer spaces in Istanbul” (Journal of Lesbian Studies) and “Reading the LGBT Movement through its spatiality in Istanbul, Turkey” (Geography Research Forum).

For more about Doan’s research and teaching on Queer Spaces, including further information about Atalay’s Istanbul studies, see Doan’s article in the 2018 edition of the college’s annual publication, Engage.

The IOP is a nonpartisan institute that promotes engagement in politics by students and citizens. Housed within the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, the Institute of Politics supports applied political research by a cadre of world-class scholars. The grant to Atalay and Doan is one of five grants the IOP has awarded to FSU faculty in various departments and colleges.