Friday, March 16, 2007

There Goes The Gayborhood










Community activists worry that "gayborhoods" are losing their relevance as gays win legal rights and greater social acceptance.

"Thirty years ago, if I lived in the Midwest and I was gay, my thought was I would go to San Francisco or New York," says Gary Gates, a demographer for the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA that specializes in sexual orientation and the law. "Now, a person can go to Kansas City and find a fairly active and open gay community."

In fact, from 2000 to 2005, the 10 states with the biggest increases in the percentage of gay couples were all in the Midwest, Gates said. Sandy Sachs, a nightclub owner in gay-friendly West Hollywood, has started promoting special dance nights for straight Iranians, Israelis and Russians because her gay clientele has fallen off. Sachs said that many gay men and lesbians now prefer to meet potential partners on the Internet.

Another factor contributing to the decline of gay neighborhoods: Many young gays feel comfortable mixing with people of different genders and sexual orientations. "We don't want to ostracize ourselves," said Matty, 20, who moved to San Francisco's diverse Mission District from nearby Petaluma three years ago. Activists agree it is a good thing that gay people no longer feel confined to the Castro, but some fear younger generations will overlook their history. "We have Chinatown and Japantown and so forth, and that's important for minority communities in this country, to have a place where they can get a sense of being the majority," said Joe Curtin, an architect who serves as president of Castro Area Planning Action. "But if you took those away, you would still have China and Japan. If the Castro goes away as a gay neighborhood, there is nowhere else. "


With ever rising real estate prices, maybe it is time for gay men to find other "gayborhoods" away from the main urban core. Older suburbs have many of the same features of larger downtown clusters. Maybe opening a bar in a community where there is cheap housing and access to jobs in the urban area, may be the new gay frontier. This exodus may already be happening. With a conservative figure of around 300,000 unmarried cohabitating male households and growing, this may well be the trend. Just think of the all male eye-candy landscaping the front lawns of suburbia as hunky guys tend to mowing and working in their yards. WOOF.

9 comments:

Ed said...

I live in a small midwestern town far from any Gay suburbs. Believe me Gays are not welcome here. I've been called names and fired from jobs and most people here think gays should be castrated or killed. It may be the 21st Century but in Indiana it is 1607. LOL.

Andrew said...

Sydney has Oxford Street, known in past as 'the gay mile', and Melbourne has 'the gay metre', Commercial Road. Both were nothing type streets before gays moved in but they turned these streets into sucessful areas and now the rents are so high, the streets are 'de-gaying'. It is not just the rents though. Australia is changing in the same way you describe.

Lemuel said...

Sorry for the gay mecca neighborhoods, but that is good news for us in the hinterlands. "Compatitble" Eye candy coming to a yard near us. Yee-assss!

Kelly said...

Living in the Capital of the South, Richmond... we happened upon our very own 'gayborhood' two year ago and it gets better each year... the straights are very nice and sociable and we all mingle together on nice evenings during dog walks in the adjacent park and during annual block parties and other individual gatherings... it is nice, even in this very conservative state... we are fortunate here.. for the time being... now if we could get some nice young guys in the hood... hehehe

Shaney said...

You know I often wondered if there were indeed gay communities where by whole towns were gender specific...I am sure it is something quite a few religious/goverment bodies would have imposed had they ever be given the opportunity... But it would appear immoral & inhumane to many & for that reason would never be enforced...Yet I wonder how many gay folk would be happy living in a town completely owned & run by the gay community...
It sounds kind of HOT...xoxo

JB said...

You've all got your minds in the gutter, thinking of shirtless coppers and firemen etc. Admit it. And of course all the gay neighbours would be hugely built studs working up sweats in their gardens...or yards as you would say.

Plus bf just said "I knew it! You're surfing porn again!" - you and your pics, Buff, you're getting me into trouble :-)

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Lewis said...

I know that gays are being accepted in many more areas and neighborhoods than in the past. But, as Ed has explained so perfectly, we are not where we need to be yet. This is a long-term course that we're on. It will be many, many years in the future before we're totally accepted. Even in areas of Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, and such, the gays still migrate toward one another. For love, for safety, for comfort. We're not so familiar with those kinds of things any longer here in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, etc.....those are definitely bubbles.