2/13 Weekly discussion: Here Comes/Goes the Gayborhood

Reading Guide

Ashley Hamelin


 Author: Amin Ghaziani

Title: “There goes the Gayborhood”

Year: 2010

 Other bibliographic details:  American Sociological Association


  1. Where or what in time-space is the study’s object? What is the work’s special scale and scope? This article explores the evolution of the “gayborhood” from pre-WW1 to 2010.


  1. What is/are the work’s key question(s)? What problems and issues are posed?

The key questions posed are about the shift in gay and lesbian residential patterns. The issues being discussed are the why this is happening, and what are the repercussions of these changes to a variety of groups, and looks at if this trend is something to be worried about.


  1. Who is the announced and/or implied audience for the work?

The implied audience could be a wide range of people; an academic or anyone who is interested in the topic, for example, someone who is studying the sociological effects of “gayborhoods”. This article could also appeal to anyone who is interested on the topics of demographics, historical “gayborhoods”, anyone looking to change their residence, etc.


  1. What are the work’s structure and style? What field is the author in and how does this shape the text? The work is structured in the style of an informal article making it more accessible to the reader. The author is a sociologist, and so the text reflects that this article is intended to explore the change in gay and lesbian shifting residential patterns.


  1. What methods does the researcher use, if noted?

The researcher uses many sources to support their ideas, such as quotes from the NY times, statistics from the census, and results from gallop polls.


  1. What is the key argument or idea of the piece? What sub-arguments are also noted?


The key argument for the piece is that, despite what media reports may be predicting, the “post-gay trend is uneven and incomplete, and there is no compelling reason to believe that it signals the definitive end of American gayborhoods”.  However, the “gayborhood” is evolving and should now include a variety of other choices for LGBTQ people to call home.


  1. What evidence does the writer use? Why do these examples (stories, visuals, graphs) stand out above others?

The writer uses a variety of evidence, from first person opinions, to census records, to a graph showing where gay and lesbian couples live in the united states, using 2000 U.S.  census data results.   I believe that using a variety of evidence strengthened the article in that it provided the reader with a variety of point of view and perspectives.


  1. What ideas and/or assumptions serves as the writer’s guide to action?

The idea that “Gayborhoods” are disappearing prompted the author to explore if this was truly happening.


  1. What is the role of the external factors such as the state or institutions, and how are they defined? The external actors in this piece can be represented through looking at the impact that WWII in the creation of “gayborhoods”, the demographics of America (census records) over time, and the trends of where LGBTQ folks are choosing to live.


  1. What is the most interesting contribution of this piece to your understanding of queer America?

This piece looks at the distribution of gay and lesbian Americans, and explores the changes in their chosen residences over time. It discusses how the medias portrayal of gayborhoods is something to be looked at. While 30% of gay Americans wish to live exclusively in “gayborhoods”, the rest of the gay population is choosing other options, some because they have to and some because they want to.


  1. What remains unclear and/or inspiring? What questions are you left with?

I was inspired by the fact that the evidence shows more freedom of choice for gay and lesbian people in terms of where they want to reside. I wonder what this diversity will look like in 10 more years? Or even 50 more years?


New Vocabulary:

Gayborhood:   A neighborhood containing homes, clubs, bars, restaurants, and other places of business and entertainment that cater to homosexuals.


Significant Authors or texts mentioned:

-Chicago Tribune 2007: “Culture Clash: Boystown shifting as more families move in”

and “Gay neighborhoods worry about losing their distinct identity

Significance: these articles explored the changes that were occurring in gay neighborhoods

 -Redeye (one of Chicago’s free daily papers) “There goes the Gayborhood”

-UCLA Demographer Advocate article

Significance: These articles spoke about how gay men are moving out and families are moving in, arguing that “boystown” was losing its identity


Questions (that occur to you as you read)

If gayborhoods did disappear, what would be the result?

-What would be the outcome if gay neighborhoods disappeared due to assimilation into all neighborhoods? And if so, would that be a sign of social acceptance?

-What if they disappeared because of complete social acceptance?

-What would it be like if there were no “gay neighborhoods” at all? Will that eventually happen?

-Are gay neighborhoods really just growing into gay cities (pg. 65)?

One sentence summary of reading: Written in 2010, this article discusses the shifting gay and lesbian residential patterns by looking at the current demographics of where different groups are choosing to live.

 Free writing: a short or long response to what you have read focusing upon anything you would like)

I feel that this article is suggesting that the trend is that gay and lesbian people today now have more options: they have the choice to live in a “gayborhood” or a gay friendly city or the suburbs and be welcomed as just another neighbor. (Of course, it is not this simple.)  As Ghaziani explains in the article “Neighborhoods and the cities that surround them are organic, continuously evolving places”. I think it is curious that the media chooses to report the shifts in where LGBTQ people are choosing to live as the “gayborhood” disappearing, rather than changing.

In class discussion highlights:

In addition to discussing “there goes the gayborhood”, we also hit upon the following topics:

-We discussed Sarah Shulmans article at great length, and spent almost a half an hour discussing the AIDS epidemic, and its effects it had on the “gayborhoods” of NY, and shared our own personal stories.

-We talked about gentrification of neighborhoods during the AIDS epidemic. Sarah Shulman explained that with gentrification “comes the destruction of culture and relationships, and the destruction has profound consequences for the future lives of cities”

We did an in class activity where we were to create our own neighborhood, which was intended to look at neighborhood diversity vs. a gentrified neighborhood.

-We discussed taking action for queer causes and how they have changed over time.

We concluded that gay marriage and equal rights were todays issues, and talked about the difference in activism from the days of the AIDS epidemic vs. today.

-We had a discussion about feeling activism “pressure”, the idea of not doing enough.

-We talked about John D’emilios article “Capitalism and Gay Identity”, and discussed the importance of WWII in “freeing millions of men and woman from the settings where heterosexuality was normally imposed” (by allowing people to gather in port cities after the war, and live independently with their own income, and not have to rely on the typical “family” structure for monetary survival.

-We chatted about the importance of money and education in making it possible for the development of the gay community.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *