Monday, October 27, 2014

Is The Death of The Gay Ghetto Imminent?

Long before Stonewall, a few large cities had areas and pockets where gay and lesbians settled, informally, but even then people had to be careful of their actions, movements and associations.  Following Stonewall, the LGBT community discovered their collective power and began to demand equality, not just the right to hang out in a club or bar without being arrested on morals charges, but the right to be seen and live where we wish. In this spirit, the era of the Gayborhood or Gay Ghetto was formed. 

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw this trend spread throughout the country, and soon many places, small and large, had areas where LGBT people settled. Gay men and women flocked to these neighborhoods for safety, opportunity and camaraderie.  These areas were not the gentrified areas of town; far from it, they were usually the forgotten and wayward…dilapidated and run down were the common characteristics.  

The 1990’s and 2000’s found these areas and neighborhoods as transformed, gentrified and sought after. In fact, many of these areas are home to the affluent in their respective cities.

Actually, our history isn’t that different from other minority groups in U.S. history.  Like the others before us, we sought areas to live, out of necessity, community and safety, but after greater acceptance by the majority, the need to stay together began to wane. 

That brings us to today.  Are Gayborhoods still forming, and if so, are they relevant?  Where can LGBT men and women find the ubiquitous Rainbow Flag and HRC symbols? In essence, where do we all live?  

Of course, exceptions are everywhere, particularly in the south and Midwest. If you travel too far from an urban center, it can still be a somewhat unwelcoming, and in some instances, a hostile experience. Fortunately, the wind of change is blowing in our favor, particularly with gay marriage and broader LGBT acceptance and political power.
That said, what’s true for Minneapolis and Orlando might not be the case for Cheyenne or Montgomery or Paducah. The stark reality is this: being openly gay in some parts of this country can still be down right dangerous. 

So, is the Gay Ghetto still relevant?  If you are circumspect or frightened of being who you are within your community, I’d say Yes, it’s still relevant. 

But if you are lucky to live in an area which supports fairness and equality, you might just decide it’s OK to live where ever you wish, without the safety of having LGBT brothers and sisters as neighbors.  Personally, this evolution is a bit sad, but it’s ultimately tremendous progress, isn’t it? 

Time will no doubt tell the story of the Gayborhood and Gay Ghetto, but one thing we do know, they empowered us and saved us from 24/7 misery and discrimination, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Gay Orlando Realestate

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