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Are Gays becoming so mainstream that they don’t need their own neighborhoods?

October 30, 2007

From the New York Times: Gay Enclaves Face Prospect of Being Passé

It’s an interesting article. Check it out, and let’s discuss.

Do you agree? Are gay enclaves still necessary? desirable? or are they drawing the “wrong” kind of attention?

As I don’t live in one, I don’t feel qualified to comment, but, I can see both sides of the coin.

GLTB folks are still struggling for basic rights, so I can’t say that they are quite yet in the mainstream to that extent. I think that is where we’d all like to “be”, but, I don’t agree that we are there yet.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2007 12:21 pm

    Interesting topic. Some of the things that go on in openly gay neighborhoods cause great disgust among people who think there is something terribly wrong with everything homosexual. Even open handholding doesn’t happen here in the boondocks.

    Ask the naive what they think of and they say men dressing and acting like women, flaunting their sexuality publicly, women dressing and acting like men, etc. We need lgbt people living openly everywhere so nobody can hide behind not knowing any and seeing only the nutty side. That is an unheralded message of the movie For the Bible Tells Me So.

  2. October 30, 2007 12:32 pm

    Our small town has no gay neighborhood, but we do have gay neighbors. They raise the tone of the ‘hood, by keeping their places neat and tidy and are well known for having the loveliest gardens. I know that’s stereotyping, but, at least around here, it’s true.

    I’m not from inside the gay community, but it seems like a good thing to me to have everyone mixed together.

  3. Suzer permalink
    October 30, 2007 12:59 pm

    True Libra that I am, I see both sides. While being “mixed” in society would probably be the best thing (and, you know, we already are mixed in society anyway), I would love to live in one of the local GLBT enclaves. Trouble for me is, the neighborhoods are far too pricey for our budget.

    There is something to be said for being able to be comfortable in one’s own neighborhood, not having to be afraid to hold hands or worry about being to “obvious” or “out” for fear of potential harassment and/or violence. This is why, especially in the South, living in a GLBT enclave would be nice. That’s why I enjoy Pride every year — it’s one weekend (2 and 1/2 short days) where in one part of town, my partner and I can hold hands or put an arm around the other’s shoulder and feel comfortable doing so. Straight people never have to think this way — and more’s the pity. Perhaps every straight person should try being gay for a week. Pick a girlfriend or guy friend and spend a week acting as if you are a couple. Try holding hands while walking in the mall, or down the street. That would be an interesting study, I think.

  4. episcopalifem permalink*
    October 30, 2007 1:03 pm

    Perhaps every straight person should try being gay for a week.

    I’d say it would be an interesting study!

    It would teach horde loads about prejudice and persecution.

  5. October 30, 2007 1:50 pm

    Suzer, I see where you’re coming from, too. I’m not constricted and hemmed in in my small southern town – well, I am, but not in the same way.

    Perhaps every straight person should try being gay for a week.

    I’m thinking about who I would find to be my co-conspirator. I’m also thinking that we all know each other around here, and we know a lot about each other, so it would be hard for me to pull it off .

  6. episcopalifem permalink*
    October 30, 2007 1:56 pm

    Boy would it give people something to talk about though.

    DID YOU SEE MIMI? And that ETHEL ANN? HOLDING HANDS? KISSING? O.M.G., lawdamercyonusaaaalll.

  7. Suzer permalink
    October 30, 2007 2:35 pm

    LOL Eileen!

    You wouldn’t have to kiss, really. Not many folks I know – gay or straight – kiss in public unless it’s just a little peck on the lips. Just holding hands is enough, I would think. Try having a casual conversation with someone you don’t know and mention “my partner” in it. Sometimes you just can’t do that, whereas most straight people don’t have to think twice about saying “my husband” or “my wife.” My partner and I, for safety’s sake (and I wish it weren’t so, but it is) often have to rely on the “my roommate” moniker, though we hate doing it. It depends where you are and what the situation is.

    And it would be against the rules to, if asked, say “oh no, I’m not really gay, we’re just doing a study.”

    I dunno. Some GLBT people think I make too much of it, that living in fear is not necessary and that most situations would not be violent. And I agree most wouldn’t. But we also prefer to spare ourselves the strange looks and whispers, comments said under the breath but loud enough for us to know what is being said, Bible tracts left on our cars saying we’re going to burn in hell (and I’ve had a few of those), etc.

    Another thing to do might be for straight folks to put a rainbow bumper sticker on their cars. Depending on where you live, you might get some interesting reactions — perhaps both good and bad.

  8. Suzer permalink
    October 30, 2007 2:37 pm

    Of course, back to the enclave issue, sometimes that actually creates more of a target. A man was recently shot in the leg in Midtown Atlanta by a gun-toting anti-gay bigot who made anti-gay remarks to the group the man was with before they got back into their car and shot at the group as they walked in Midtown. Perhaps anti-gay attacks (whether physically or verbally violent) increase when an area is “known” to be GLBT friendly?

  9. episcopalifem permalink*
    October 30, 2007 2:40 pm

    I have some gay support t-shirts, and I was wearing one yesterday.

    My husband was like, WTF – you have a rainbow on your shirt.
    I said, yes, I know. I’ve been meaning to tell you….

    I do support gay rights…I just do.

    You should have seen the look on his face.

  10. episcopalifem permalink*
    October 30, 2007 2:43 pm

    It’s really more the kids, I think, who show the majority of PDA – all that leaning in, and hand holding, tongue swapping. It’s blantant hormones and sexuality on dispaly.

    I see it on campus all the time.

    But, I don’t see many of our gay students doing it.

  11. susan s. permalink
    October 30, 2007 3:15 pm

    Well, here in Berkeley, no one would notice hand holding. Personally, I don’t feel any more offended when I see GLBTs kissing than I do seeing straights kissing. The over-the-top PDAs in both communities really do bother me. I always want to shout something assholey like “Get a room!” I swear, I must be too old for this. There was a couple(straight) at the corner cafe who seemed to be oblivious of the spectacle they were. Then again, maybe being exhibitionists was what was turning them on. Even the cooks were laughing at them. Apparently that was not the first time they had been there. If only they hadn’t been sitting right by the front door!

  12. October 30, 2007 8:09 pm

    I’ve been so fortunate in my last two neighborhoods to live in very “mixed” areas. Definitely not glbt enclaves, but also plenty of openly gay and lesbian couples. My current hood is definitely higher on the lesbian side than gay men. But Ashevegas itself is an enclave in the south. College students around here show plenty of PDA, gay and straight. Punk lesbians, hippie lesbians, pierced and tattoed lesbians — pierced tongues interlocking … Sometimes I think they’re just showing off for the tourists.

    Racially, we’re a very segregated town. Sexually, not so much.

  13. October 31, 2007 12:03 am

    I have a rainbow ribbon on my coat, one on my backpack and one on my Macbook. I wear my Bach Choir button on a rainbow ribbon. I have rainbow cats on a bumper sticker and the HRC equal sign on my car. I fly a small rainbow flag under the American one. Nobody around here has any idea what any of it represents. Nobody even asks. That’s kind of disappointing.

    One of the guys in Bach Choir had a rainbow cast on his leg. We noticed but didn’t say anything. One of the gals commented on how pretty it was. We laughed. He didn’t explain.

  14. November 1, 2007 8:51 am

    Some of the things that go on in openly gay neighborhoods cause great disgust among people who think there is something terribly wrong with everything homosexual.

    That is part of it, but when I lived in a gay neighbourhood, I noticed that eventually it became the centre of a larger entertainment district and attracted all kinds of problematic people – drunken twentysomethings that peed on your lawn and left beer cans in your yard, aggressive beggars, increased vandalism and crime, noise, cruising (with the car stereos at full volume) and all the other headaches. I left just because I didn’t feel like I needed that in order to be around gay people. Moving a kilometre away worked just as well (and the cost of housing was lower.)

    It’s great that young straight people feel comfortable enough in a gay neighbourhood to join in the fun, but it also turns life upside down for people who live there. Most leave after a while (usually after a break in or something.)

  15. November 1, 2007 8:58 am

    I should add that in that gay neighbourhood, I had my Honda Prelude stolen, never to be recovered (and the theft of the car didn’t bother me as much as what I had left in it). And the replacement car (a Nissan Pulsar, which wasn’t on the most stolen list) was broken into 3 times. I had screwdriver indentations around the radio from people who started to take it and then realized it was the piece-of-sh*t radio that came with the car and was not worth anything. The first time, the lock was pulled right out of the door and cost $1,500 to replace and repaint, and the other two times, the car window was broken out (at a cost of $250 a pop plus installation). All that came out of pocket because I didn’t want my insurance rates to go up.

  16. August 13, 2010 3:03 pm

    In Europe we do not have any gay-areas, they like to live among heteros. This is difference i cultures. Only gay people live in towns, not in the country.

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