There goes the gayborhood. Literally.
A new study conducted at the University of British Columbia suggests that gay neighborhoods may soon be a thing of the past.
The study has found that fewer same-sex couples are living in historically gay neighborhoods — San Francisco’s Castro district, New York’s Chelsea, Chicago’s Boystown, etc. — compared to just 10 years ago. The number of gay men residing in gay enclaves has dropped by eight percent over the past decade, while the number of lesbians has declined by 13 percent.
So what’s deal? Why are gay people moving? And where are they going?
Amin Ghaziani, who led the study, suggests a few reasons for the shift, including changing attitudes among gays and lesbians as a result of the growing acceptance of same-sex couples.
“For gay people, they no longer feel like they need a safe space because they feel safe anywhere,” Ghaziani says. “At the same time, as the stigma against homosexuality eases, more straight people feel comfortable moving into these areas, more so than they have in the past when they have perceived these populations as more stigmatized than they do now.”
The study also found a large number of same-sex parents living in traditionally straight neighborhoods with desirable schools, which is likely a result of an increase in gay parents. There has also been a new emergence of neighborhoods for gay people of color.
“Gay neighborhoods have been crucial to the struggle for freedom, and have produced globally important contributions, from politics to poetry to music and fashion,” Ghaziani says. “The growing acceptance of same-sex couples underlying these findings is extremely positive, but it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces.”