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.
Awards and Recognition
- Honorable Mention for the 2016 Robert E. Park Award, Community and Urban Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association
- Selected for the 2015 Over the Rainbow Project book list, American Library Association
"Through the lens of gayborhoods, Amin Ghaziani offers a provocative and insightful new analysis of the gay experience. He combines historical documentation, popular media accounts, and empirical data to tell a compelling story of how gayborhoods shaped LGBT and urban life in America and considers what might be next for these enclaves in a post-gay society."—Gary J. Gates, Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles
"What happens to cities when gay life moves out of the closet and into the streets? In this important book, Amin Ghaziani examines the cultural politics and political economy of the gayborhood, charting its emergence as a safe space in a hostile environment and its evolving role in the gentrifying metropolis. There Goes the Gayborhood? is original, timely, and provocative. It's destined to spark a heated debate."—Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo and Heat Wave
"As gayness moves from the closet to the mainstream, the social and spatial structure of the gay community is inevitably changing. Social transformations are always expressed in the urban landscape, and gay neighborhoods are no exception. In his superb new book, Amin Ghaziani offers a nuanced and perceptive guide to the changing nature of gay life in contemporary urban America. As a former resident of San Francisco's Castro neighborhood during its heyday, I read the book with great interest and much appreciation for the power of Ghaziani's sociological imagination."—Douglas S. Massey, Princeton University
"Gayborhoods may come and go, but identities continue to inform processes of urbanization. This is a lively and informative read that contributes to contemporary theorizing on sexuality and space. Ghaziani deftly parses through demographic information and sociological narratives to clarify the histories and futures of sexual communities in the era of the post-gay."—Jasbir K. Puar, author of Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times
"Examining the declining centrality of iconic urban gayborhoods in the wake of dramatic gains in social acceptance of gays and lesbians, Ghaziani nimbly escapes the twin pitfalls of lamenting liberationist losses or celebrating assimilationist victories. This sensitive and sensible intervention into 'post-gay' discourse on the shifting social geography of sex and the city makes welcome contributions to both queer and urban studies."—Judith Stacey, New York University
"There Goes the Gayborhood? is an extraordinarily researched and considered study of how we understand neighborhoods, communities, and cities in the post-gay era. Despite the increasing tolerance and support of gay culture in today's society, Ghaziani makes a clear and cogent case that the gayborhood remains an important source of identity, social capital, and solidarity among sexual minorities."—Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, author of The Warhol Economy
"Marshaling census data, historical records, and voices of gayborhood denizens, Ghaziani tells the complex story of queer geographies in the United States. In doing so, he eloquently documents how gayborhoods—their compositions, meanings, and functions—have evolved along with larger cultural, gendered, economic, and sexual changes."—C. J. Pascoe, author of Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School
"There Goes the Gayborhood? contributes to the important and growing literature on sexuality, moving past questions about individual identity and social-movement activism to address broader questions about daily life, social interaction, and the spaces in which people live."—Robert Wuthnow, author of Small-Town America