Gay neighborhoods, like the legendary Castro District in San Francisco and New York’s Greenwich Village, have long provided sexual minorities with safe havens in an often unsafe world. But as our society increasingly accepts gays and lesbians into the mainstream, are “gayborhoods” destined to disappear? Amin Ghaziani provides an incisive look at the origins of these unique cultural enclaves, the reasons why they are changing today, and their prospects for the future.
Drawing on a wealth of evidence--including census data, opinion polls, hundreds of newspaper reports from across the United States, and more than one hundred original interviews with residents in Chicago, one of the most paradigmatic cities in America--There Goes the Gayborhood? argues that political gains and societal acceptance are allowing gays and lesbians to imagine expansive possibilities for a life beyond the gayborhood. The dawn of a new post-gay era is altering the character and composition of existing enclaves across the country, but the spirit of integration can coexist alongside the celebration of differences in subtle and sometimes surprising ways.
Exploring the intimate relationship between sexuality and the city, this cutting-edge book reveals how gayborhoods, like the cities that surround them, are organic and continually evolving places. Gayborhoods have nurtured sexual minorities throughout the twentieth century and, despite the unstoppable forces of flux, will remain resonant and revelatory features of urban life.
Amin Ghaziani is associate professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington.
"[T]he rise of post-gay culture has introduced a new turmoil in gay neighborhoods: more gay men and women are leaving for suburbs and smaller cities, and more straight people are moving in. . . . Ghaziani doesn't think that this has wiped gayborhoods off the map--hence the question mark in his book's title. . . . Ghaziani's most interesting findings document what is happening beyond the gayborhood, in the new places to which gay men and women are relocating. . . . It's the sort of contradiction that Ghaziani argues lies at the heart of contemporary gay life."--Elizabeth Greenspan, New Yorker
"Ghaziani offers passionate and refreshing insights on a politically charged issue. Taking the 'gayborhood' as his subject, Ghaziani analyzes the phenomenon of 'gay ghettos' using rich statistical data, historical analysis, a comprehensive review of news reports, and in-depth interviews with gays and heterosexuals. The result is a panoramic view of both the dimensions and cultural evolution of the gay neighborhood, and a response to the titular question: are gayborhoods and their once rich cultural vibrancy in decline? Ghaziani's answers refuse easy scapegoats or facile conclusions, and suggest that the cultural evolution of gayborhoods need not entail their demise. He brings much needed nuance to heated debates about the role of gay neighborhoods in wider patterns of gentrification. . . . The findings are not to be missed."--Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating, rich view that is supported by up-to-date statistics. . . . Recommended for readers with a solid understanding of the history of gay culture who worry about changes to predominantly gay neighborhoods."--Jessica Spears, Library Journal
Table of Contents:
PART I. GAYBORHOODS ARE CHANGING . . .
Chapter 1 Beyond the Gayborhood 35
Chapter 2 The Happiest Ending 64
Chapter 3 Triggers 102
PART II. BUT ARE THEY DISAPPEARING?
Chapter 4 Cultural Archipelagos 133
Chapter 5 Resonance 166
Chapter 6 Reinvention 210
The Language of Sexuality 267
Appendix: What Are Gayborhoods? How Do We Study Them? 271
Works Cited 315