Today, these neighborhoods can typically be found in the upscale or trendy parts of town like in Manhattan , chosen for aesthetic or historic value, no longer resulting from the sociopolitical ostracization and the constant threat of physical violence from homophobic individuals that originally motivated these communities to live together for their mutual safety.
These neighborhoods are also often found in working-class parts of the city, or in the neglected fringe of a downtown area — communities which may have been upscale historically but became economically depressed and socially disorganized. In these cases, the establishment of a LGBT community has turned some of these areas into more expensive neighborhoods, a process known as gentrification — a phenomenon in which LGBT people often play a pioneer role.
However, today's manifestations of "queer ghettos " bear little resemblance to those of the s. The term ghetto originally referred to those places in European cities where Jews were required to live according to local law. During the 20th century, ghetto came to be used to describe the areas inhabited by a variety of groups that mainstream society deemed outside the norm, including not only Jews but poor people, LGBT people, ethnic minorities, hobos , prostitutes , and bohemians.
These neighborhoods, which often arise from crowded, highly dense, and often deteriorated inner city districts, are critical sites where members of gender and sexual minorities have traditionally congregated. From one perspective, these spaces are places of marginality created by an often homophobic , biphobic , and transphobic heterosexual community; from another perspective, they are places of refuge where members of gender and sexual minorities can benefit from the concentration of safe, nondiscriminatory resources and services just as other minorities do.
In some cities, LGBT people congregate in visibly identified neighborhoods, while in others they are dispersed in neighborhoods which have less visibility because a liberal, affirming counterculture is present. For example, LGBT people in San Francisco congregate in the Castro neighborhood, while LGBT people in Seattle concentrate in the city's older bohemian stomping grounds of Capitol Hill , and those of Montreal have concentrated in a working-class neighborhood referred to administratively as " Centre-Sud " but largely known as "Le Village".
Prior to the s and '70s, specialized LGBT communities did not exist as gay villages in the United States; bars were usually where LGBT social networks developed, and they were located in certain urban areas where police zoning would implicitly allow so-called "deviant entertainment" under close surveillance. In New York, for example, the congregation of gay men had not been illegal since ; however, no openly gay bar had been granted a license to serve alcohol.
The police raid of a private gay club called the Stonewall Inn on June 27, , led to a series of minor disturbances in the neighborhood of the bar over the course of the subsequent three days involving more than 1, people. The Stonewall Rebellion managed to change not only the profile of the gay community but the dynamic within the community itself. This, along with several other similar incidents, precipitated the appearance of gay ghettos throughout North America, as spatial organization shifted from bars and street-cruising to specific neighbourhoods.
This transition "from the bars to the streets, from nightlife to daytime, from 'sexual deviance' to an alternative lifestyle" was the critical moment in the development of the gay community. Online communities had developed globally by the early s as resource connecting gay villagers worldwide to provide information for arts, travel, business, gay counseling, and legal services, aiming to provide safe and gay-friendly environments for members of LGBTQ communities in general.
Gay villages can vary widely from city to city and country to country. Furthermore, some large cities also develop "satellite" gay villages that are essentially "overflow" areas. In such cases, gay men and lesbians have become priced-out of the main gay village and move to other, more affordable areas, thereby creating an entirely new gay village, also thereby furthering the process of gentrification by pricing-out long held tenants of these areas.
In New York City , many gays in the s moved to the Chelsea neighborhood from the Greenwich Village neighborhood as a less expensive alternative; subsequent to this movement, house prices in Chelsea have increased dramatically to rival the West Village within Greenwich Village itself. These processes are tied to the spatial nature of the urban renaissance which was occurring at the time. The "first wave" of low-wage gay residences in these urban centers paved the way for other, more affluent gay professionals to move into the neighborhoods; this wealthier group played a significant role in the gentrification of many inner city neighborhoods.
LGBT culture in New York City - Wikipedia
The presence of gay men in the real estate industry of San Francisco was a major factor facilitating the urban renaissance of the city in the s. However, the gentrification of gay villages may also serve to reinforce stereotypes of gays, by pushing out gay people who do not conform to the prevailing "gay, white, affluent, professional" image. Especially in San Francisco's Polk Gulch neighborhood the first "gay village" in that city , gentrification seems to have had this result.
Gay men and women have a reputation for driving the revitalization of previously run-down enclaves. Making these neighborhoods more desirable places to live, businesses and other classes of people move to the area and, accordingly, property values tend to go up. Richard Florida , an influential American academic, claims that their mere presence lures investors and jobs, particularly of the high-technology kind. They are, he says, "the canaries of the creative economy". Cities that have gay villages and are more tolerant towards gays, generally tend to have stronger, more robust, and creative economies, as compared to cities that are less tolerant towards gays.
Florida says that cities as such have a stronger creative class , which is integral in bringing in new ideas that stimulate economies. The gentrification of once rundown inner-city areas, coupled with the staging of pride parades in these areas, has resulted in the increased visibility of gay communities.
Parades such as Sydney 's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Manchester's Pride events attract significant investment and create tourist revenue, and cities are beginning to realize, firstly, that the acceptance of lesbian and gay culture is fast becoming a sign of urban "sophistication", and secondly, that gay-oriented events, such as pride parades and the Gay Games , are potentially lucrative events, attracting thousands of gay tourists and their dollars. The growing recognition of the economic value of the gay community is not only associated with their wealth but also with the role that lesbians and gay men have played and continue to play in urban revitalization.
Gay New York
Some cities have a very well-defined gay village in the heart of a larger area that also has a significant gay population. For example, Boystown in Chicago is a very well-defined gay village situated within the larger Lakeview neighborhood. Lakeview is an affluent neighborhood with a reputation for being a stronghold of liberal and progressive political views. Outside of Boystown, Lakeview is a mixture of both gay and straight citizens and families, but Boystown is the main gay village.
Other examples of this phenomenon include Davie Village in the heart of Vancouver 's gay community. It sits within the greater West End area, which, though decently populated by gay people, is not necessarily considered a gay village. Despite its large gay population and higher concentration of gay venues, the South Beach area in Miami Beach, Florida , was never exclusively gay, because of its popularity among straight people alike. Philadelphia's traditional gay village comprises several downtown blocks and is called "the Gayborhood".
Philadelphia's "Gayborhood" contains 68 rainbow street sign signs throughout the community. The Short North in downtown Columbus, Ohio is primarily known as an art district, but has a strong gay community and a high concentration of gay-oriented clubs and bars. In Boston, the trendy and upscale South End neighborhood has a large population of gay men, and the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods are home to scores of lesbians, also with vibrant but less trendy downtown areas.
Some areas are often associated with being "gay" cities or resorts, due to their image and acceptance of the gay community. These establishments are mainly concentrated in the southwestern portion of the Marais, many on or near the streets Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie and Vieille du Temple. A well-known gay village of Sitges is one of the richest residential areas within the area of greater Barcelona. The town hosts several gay events throughout the year, such as Gay Pride and Bears Week. The first monument for the gay community, an inverse triangle, was built in Passeig Maritim street in Many gay tourists use the gay-friendly accommodation in Sitges during Circuit Festival of Barcelona.
San Diego has its own gay village called Hillcrest , which sits around Balboa Park. Hillcrest is very close to the downtown area but is able to maintain a small town eclectic feel. While it is considered by most as the gay area of San Diego with its gay bars and dance clubs, the overall population of the area has only gotten more and more diverse with the rise in condominium projects. These diverse, welcoming areas have slowly continued the gentrifying process. In Minneapolis, Minnesota , areas surrounding Loring Park , site of the local LGBT pride festival, are regarded as a "gay" neighborhood, though many gay and lesbian people have migrated to more residential neighborhoods such as Bryn Mawr and Whittier.
In Tampa, Florida , the gay community was traditionally spread out among several neighborhoods. In the early 21st century, the Ybor City National Historic Landmark District has seen the creation of the GaYbor District, which is now the center of gay and lesbian life in the Tampa Bay area and home to the majority of gay bars and dance clubs, restaurants, and service organizations. With its stylish merchandise and inventive visual displays, this is a secondhand store par excellence.
From Chelsea, you can take a downtown stroll on this green artery that will bring you to the Meatpacking District for more upscale shopping and people watching. Back in the West Village, dedicate your evening to another good cause: Another legendary, albeit more casual, venue is The Duplex.
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Plan ahead here , or check theater box offices or the TKTS discount booth on the day of performance. If you snapped up tickets for a matinee, take a quick walk to Vynl for lunch beforehand. Pre- or post-curtain, spend some quiet time at the Museum of Arts and Design , whose exhibitions of high-concept and meticulously crafted jewelry, furniture, fashion and objects celebrate the creative talent that often does not appear on stage or screen.
The wine list is as impressive as the atmosphere, and the food is delightful—though the courtyard dining area is even more so. Finally, recap theater or menu highlights over drinks at Therapy. Go out of bounds today, exploring the farther-flung places where gay life is staking a claim.
Just remember that these emerging gayborhoods are primarily residential. The facility crowns a precipice of Fort Tryon Park , where you will also find an idyllic lunch destination in New Leaf. Besides alchemical cooking and an Ivy League setting, New Leaf boasts gay icon bona fides: Come early evening, act local and head from your park perch to Castro , an Inwood newcomer that has a multicultural discotheque vibe.
Or think globally and make the trek to Jackson Heights. This Queens district is home to a large, mostly South American gay community, as well as a tremendous Indian population. In mainstay gay bar The Music Box , the melting pot just feels like a big dance party. Delight in the art of sustainable confection at Mast Brothers Chocolate , or remake yourself in the bearded image of the Mast Brothers themselves at Fellow Barber. For heartier nourishment, seek out the beloved Diner , later washing down the meal with brews from the very hip, slightly ironic gay bar Metropolitan.
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