Gayzebosfiled September 27, 2023
Resident Historian of Aesthetic Foungaytions and Dwelling Design, Jenna Simon, has published her second book, Arcqueertecture: The Intersection of Art and Day to Gay Life, and we here at The InQueery couldn’t be more thrilled. For the last three years, Simon perched politely in the flamboyant halls of the New York Public Library, lay herself on the shimmering marble floors of the Capitol Building, and meandered through mazes of villages across the continent to uncover the underpinnings of North America’s queerest structures. The InQueery was tickled by her findings, especially when it came to what every queerling has known since our halcyon days in the Victorian gay underground: The purest form of high-arcqueertecture is the gazebo.
Gazebos serve as ornate monuments of Pride, and act as a fabulous centerpiece to any hamlet square. Think of the seasonally-accessorized crown jewel of Stars Hollow, whereupon we eavesdropped on the quaint, queer-parallel dramas of the Gilmore family. Small-town gossip flourishes alongside Baroque-inspired banisters. Indeed, gazebos not only provide shade, but throw it.
Gazebos also offer respite—both physical and mental—from the oppression of heteronormative society, right-angular structural erections, and shoe-staining inclement weather, all without sacrificing drama or flair. Think of the gilded glass rotunda The Sound of Music bestowed upon gay babies around the world, or the grand stone edifice of Rosings in Pride and Prejudice (Who could say no to Mr. Darcy under those gorgeous arches?). Rosings fulfills the sine qua non of any gazebo: It provides shelter from figurative and literal storms, and serves as a stage for song, dance, and passionate speeches for the young-and-in-love.
“It always felt like it was calling to me, like a bug-zapper to a mosquito” says a trans-femme North Carolinian visiting their childhood gazebo, which sits next to their small town’s claim to fame: Rose Hill’s World’s Largest Frying Pan. “The whole town would be frying truckloads of chicken legs and I’d just lay on the creaky floor looking up at the bony rafters. There were carpenter ants, but it was worth it to be alone.”
“I love building ‘em,” says an otter and full-time gazebo builder in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. “My favorite part is when I get to string lights all over them during the holidays. Come to think of it, I might have popped my cherry in a gazebo*, explains a lot.”
“The ‘lion and lamb’ bit was the only way we could really put our relationship into words,” says an engaged, full-time Twilight cosplaying lesbian couple from Vancouver, who constructed a backyard replica of the fairy-lit gazebo from Bella and Edward’s prom. “We’re pushing up our wedding date,” the cast-laden half of the couple says, “because I broke my ankle last week running through the woods. It’d be too authentic of a scene for our friends and family to miss.”
Our Conclusion: Any structure, permanent or temporary, which appears, without fail, in every episode of The Great British Baking Show, and has hosted multiple uses of the term “soggy bottom,” is, empirically, gay.
Queer Rating: Being cast as an ensemble member in your high school’s spring musical, but making it count.