There goes the gayborhood

south end, gay bostonJust ahead of New York City Pride, which took place this past weekend, The New York Times published, Scott James article, “There Goes The Gayborhood” and shared it in the Pride 2017 section of the Sunday Times.

News that neighborhoods like Greenwich Village and The Castro are no longer quite as gay as they once were isn’t news (not for gay men anyway), but I couldn’t help but read the article to hear what Scott James had to say on the matter. James writes, “These changes are due in large part to the increased expense that comes with the rising popularity and gentrification of many inner cities. But growing acceptance, legally and societally, of the L.G.B.T.Q. community is also responsible.

Many of these ‘gayborhoods’ like Boston’s South End were neglected urban areas that had rapidly depopulated from “White Flight” and faced more than their share of economic hardships. The LGBTQ community in the 1960s, 70s and 80s claimed these spaces because much like these parts of the city, homosexuals were perceived as dangerous and undesirable. The irony is that as gayborhoods these communities flourished and in most major cities these former enclaves for the LGBTQ community are now so gentrified they have become a hollow shell of their former self.

None of this is news to the gay community and the underlying economic forces that are driving this trend aren’t going away. However James writes that efforts are also underway to provide a small oasis of LGBTQ pride to neighborhoods that in the past may not have been as well known for their tolerance of gay men; as the LGBTQ community move to other parts of the city. The fact that Dorchester now has gay bars would have been inconceivable in the 80s and 90s, but now, Savin Hill, probably has more gay men moving to it than the traditional gay enclave (the South End) in Boston. What does this mean for our gay community? Time will tell.

Check out Scott James article in the New York Times here.


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