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The current occupation of the empty office building on Waldeck Pyrmontkade 872 (WP872) is an opportunity to theorize queer and feminist issues surrounding housing rights, namely the intersection of various forms of discriminations – especially based on gender and sexual orientation – in the access to safe and secure housing. Private living spaces are political and they are a site of feminist struggle. The evolution of WP872 – from its past uses to the uses the new owners are destining it to, via the rerouting that the occupation is operating – is exemplary of the ways in which patriarchal power dynamics infiltrate the housing market and work to dispossess those who are in most dire need of it from safe housing. WP872 stands as a symbol; it allows us to define some core feminist/queer issues in housing rights, and to appreciate the feminist stakes in occupations.
Let us first situate the occupation at WP872. The building used to house various organisations working against domestic violence. They offered services such as after-school day care, counselling sessions, crisis management, placements of children in foster families and so forth. These organisations have been forced to move out in 2018 due to their impossibility to pay rent. The building was subsequently bought by an Amsterdam based real-estate company. They envision to build luxury short-stay apartments at WP872, in which expats may stay no longer than 6 months for a monthly rent of over 4.000€. In protest against this socially irresponsible project, the Short Stay No Way group has taken hold of this building and demands its conversion to social housing. This occupation is resolutely queer and feminist, and a reading of the situation (both specifically at WP872, and in the housing market in general) through a feminist-queer lens is long overdue. Hence the publication of this article now.