University of British Columbia sociologist Amin Ghaziani’s new book There Goes the Gayborhood claims traditionally gay neighborhoods are starting to become increasingly “straight” and are losing their cultural identity.
According to one of the largest studies of sexuality in the U.S., led by Ghaziani, the number of gay men that live in gay neighborhoods has declined by 8 percent within 10 years and the number of lesbians has been reduced by 13 percent.
He thinks neighborhoods like San Francisco’s Castro district, New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, Chicago’s Boystown, and other “Gayborhoods” are becoming occupied by more heterosexuals because of changing attitudes among the LGBT community and acceptance of same-sex couples.
It was also found that same-sex parents have clustered in unexpected areas because of schools in straight neighborhoods. According to the study, same-sex households now exist in 93 percent of U.S. counties, a record high for the U.S.
Though Ghaziani recognizes that more straight people in traditionally gay neighborhoods marks the acceptance and advancement of the gay rights movement, he fears that the cultural identity of these powerful neighborhoods will be lost.
“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 said. “The growing acceptance of same-sex couples underlying the findings is extremely positive, but it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces.”