Living in the Gayborhood/'A gay world'

  • kinetic

    Posts: 1125

    Feb 26, 2008 2:17 PM GMT
    I had a thought this morning when I came across an empty plastic container that used to hold Halloween candy. Well I guess a few thoughts which all led me to start this thread.

    I'm currently residing in Houston's Gayborhood of Montrose; I saw the Halloween candy container and wondered how many children really would be stopping by on Halloween night for candy when the atmosphere where I live is that of an 18+ nature.
    I mean a few blocks over there are hustlers in the street and around all the bars (which by chance I am right next to) drugs are rampant.
    This led me to wonder, is it really a good idea to be in such a neighborhood?

    I recently moved to TX from Boston where I spent a long time living in the South End (Boston's Gayborhood, aside from Jamaica Plain) and found similar issues.
    I guess what I am asking is when you live in a 'gayborhood' and only have gay friends and gay everything (dentists, doctors, gyms, restaurants etc.) can that have an adverse effect on an individual?

    Maybe I'm answering my own question, but when I was in the So End of Boston, I often found myself retreating away from all of that, which is kind of ironic since I made such an effort to live there for a while.
    How do the rest of you feel about this?
    Anyone like me out there?
    icon_rolleyes.gif



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 3:39 PM GMT
    This is really interesting, for one thing I think its great for us to have a community we really need it. But I have live in Texas, Ct, Penn, in large cities and could never figure out why the gayborhood is always in the worst part of town. I live and play in Philly now and I must say for the most part it has a large 9 block area that is the hood. The bath houses and porn theaters are in the really bad part of town while the clubs and dinning are in the mix of the nicere straight part of the hood. I guess it comes down to what your into. But my overall feeling is live in the burbs and play in the city. lol.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 3:59 PM GMT
    I live in a similar neighbourhood, matter of fact about a 5 minute walk from where Queer As Folk was filmed. I enjoy it because I can walk down the street and bump into people I know. I am also only a few minutes walking distance from work. Except for sports I don't associate much with the gay sub-culture. My partner and I only go to the bars maybe once every two months, and we do not go to circuit parties, etc..

    We have straight friends as well as gay friends. I think it is important to have a gay doctor, even a gay lawyer, it is more comfortable talking to them about sensitive issues.

    I personally do not mind not having kids come to my door at Halloween (I hate halloween anyways). Since there is a public school nearby I see lots of little kids as it is!

    The best thing about living in a gay neighbourhood (at least in Toronto)? The low crime rate!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 4:51 PM GMT
    Interesting thread Kinetic. I think the reason the gayborhoods initiate in lower income neighborhoods which are often high crime areas is because there is normally little resistance to their presence and it is affordable. In my experience, these neighborhoods start out as bad neighborhoods and then become desirable locations as they are built up, becoming more trendy over time.

    While I don't live in a gayborhood, I think it's important that we have these types of environments that allow us to socialize and feel comfortable doing so. While I try to spend my money to the benefit of the gay community, I also think it's important to have ties to other communities so that we don't become one dimensional in our thinking. We are after all only a small part of the much larger community of human beings that need to live and work together for the betterment of all.

    Just my thoughts...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 5:29 PM GMT
    Could not think of anything worse than being segregated in any shape or form!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 5:40 PM GMT
    creyente saidI think the reason the gayborhoods initiate in lower income neighborhoods which are often high crime areas is because there is normally little resistance to their presence and it is affordable. In my experience, these neighborhoods start out as bad neighborhoods and then become desirable locations as they are built up, becoming more trendy over time.


    That's right. Wilton Manors started as a decaying town with bungalows in dire need of repair, populated mainly by the very old who'd had nothing done to upgrade their homes since the 1950s. Their heirs and children sold the houses cheaply back in the early 90s, just to be rid of them, and gays and lesbians bought them up, worked their magic, and over time this became a trendy and expensive neighborhood---but it's unlikely to turn "straight", the way some towns have, because of the unusually high rate of home ownership among the gay-lesbian population.
  • kinetic

    Posts: 1125

    Feb 26, 2008 6:50 PM GMT
    I know that in many cases gay people have been known to gentrify urban areas; but what I was really getting at is when everything in your life becomes 'gay'.
    -Like people that never leave their gayborhood, only have gay friends etc.

    Maybe it can be a good thing to have the option of a gay 'whatever', but I wonder how out of touch with the rest of the world one can get when existing that way.

    Believe it or not, I've actually met lots of gay men who don't even know any straight people (aside from ones they may work w/ and family)
    Personally, I can't handle that. Although, I have lived in a few places where that has almost been the case.
    On a side-note, I do understand the importance of having a gay doctor and lawyer.
    -It makes sense, you've got to look out for yourself and have people that understand you. Especially when it comes to your health.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 6:54 PM GMT
    Very intersting.. I had no idea there were gayborhoods.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 7:11 PM GMT
    I have mixed feelings about gayborhoods. I'm against all forms of self-ghettoization. We will never overcome our misunderstandings of difference if we always choose to only associate with those who are most like us.

    Cincinnati is a very neighborhood specific town - so much so that people identify with their part of town well before they claim to be a Cincinnatian. The neighborhoods are largely divided by economic class, which of course has translated into race segregation as well, with the poorest neighborhoods being black ones, although there are a couple of nice, very mixed middle class neighborhoods here and there.

    We have a sort of gayborhood - Northside - which is also a very poor, sometimes dangerous neighborhood. Racially mixed and united by lower income class status.

    The more monied gays live downtown, in Hyde Park, and generally all over the city and suburbs, including large enclaves on the very conservative/Catholic west side of Cincinnati. The spread definitely contributes to a weak sense of community, something a gayborhood strengthens.

    I always say...before straight vs gay, white vs black, etc...there is have vs have not.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Feb 26, 2008 7:40 PM GMT
    kinetic,

    I lived in Montrose for ten years (right around the corner from JR's, actually!), during and after college, and it can be a little overwhelming. I knew both kinds of gay men back then - those that hated women, hated straight people, and self-ghettoized themselves to escape the outside world, as well as those dying to assimiliate (the latter were a little more rare back in the day - as you know, Houston is a very homophobic city). I think that the ghetto serves a useful purpose, but it is too easy to get cut off from the outside world.
  • imperator

    Posts: 626

    Feb 26, 2008 8:23 PM GMT
    kinetic said[...]
    This led me to wonder, is it really a good idea to be in such a neighborhood?[...]



    It's funny- the timing- that I saw this thread less than a day after talking to a friend who showed up to a night out with my bf, one of our gay friends, and my 6 straight roommates. He said he didn't think he'd attend that particular weekly outing again because there were "too many straight people, and he wasn't drunk, so he was all quiet and didn't talk to anybody and felt totally out of place." And it's always other gay people saying stuff like that that collides with my tendency to sometimes drift into a gay-nationalism state of mind; just when I start thinking "we should all move to some tropical island and declare independence and form a gay nation-state" someone says something like "the party sucked, there were too many straight people there." Because it shows a disconnect with reality-- in this case, the reality that 'straight' people (or straight-identifying ones, anyway) are still the majority, maybe 90% of the population (maybe more, maybe less)-- and I have a really low tolerence threshold for pretense and BS.

    Disconnects with reality can be good, if it's idle fantasizing or day-dreaming or whatever, but they can also be a sign of mental illness. Someone who thinks that their fantasies are more real than reality is usually someone we'd diagnose as schizophrenic; so what does it say about those gay people who spend so much time surrounded exclusively by gay friends, exclusively in gay 'settings' (ie. the only place they go is the gay bar, or the mall with gay friends/fag hags), to the point where encountering a bunch of straight people-- even ones who are cool enough that they live side-by-side with a gay couple and all hang out amicably-- brings on some big, dampening mood-swing?

    I'm fine with being able to choose your friends, and with spending time where you choose, and all of that. I think gay neighbourhoods are legitimate and have value. But at the same time, I think we have a real issue with how some gay people insulate themselves so much-- put themselves into such an all-gay bubble-- that they forget that the rest of the city exists outside the gaybourhood, and almost forget that straight people *exist,* and so forget how to deal with them or even see them as human beings. When I meet a handful of new people, my ability to talk to them or be myself around them shouldn't be contingent upon their being gay, too; hell, if I have any *real* 'pride' then it shouldn't even by continent upon their being gay-friendly, because if I'm truly proud then I don't need their approval to carry on a conversation.

    So it's conversations like the one with my friend the other day that makes me ambivalent about gay spaces; while I'm fine with us having 'preferential' spaces to consentually associate in, I'm leery of the escapists who would turn them into *exclusive* spaces within which to play out their insecure or immature fantasies of existing on a planet without heteros, because I don't really trust schizophrenics (gay or straight), whether they're medically diagnosible as such or whether they're just choosing to behave as such. We can choose our friends, by all means, but we shouldn't fool outselves into thinking that everyone else doesn't exist or that we won't have to deal with them from time to time.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 8:37 PM GMT
    Ha, I had my first sexual encounter in Montrose when I was, well, younger!

    I lived in LA for 13 years and a lot of the time in West Hollywood or the Swish Alps. When I moved to LA from Texas it was enormously important for me to have the Ghetto and I did love it (especially the hours, weeks, and years I spent in the Jim Morris Club which I still believe to be the most complete and fun gym I have ever used).

    Eventually we grow up and that is good too.

    Now I live in a place where there are no visible gay people (well there's us). That sucks too and is a big reason I spend as much time on here as I do.

    Ghettoes have their role.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 10:10 PM GMT
    The Gayberhoods have their place. I personally have never lived in one and don't necessarily desire to. They do have their place though. My perception is that I have seen many of my Gay counter-parts become isolated & tend not to want to venture out and that scares me about people who don't want to branch out and experience the rest of their cities. On the flip side the Gayberhoods that I have been around tend to be meccas for dining, entertaining and shopping, so it's like a double edge sword for me...
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Feb 26, 2008 10:25 PM GMT
    Every urban area has its good points and bad points
    I grew up in NYC where I had to step over street people to get to work every morning and would walk by some of the wealthiest buildings in the world just a few feet away
    Gay neighborhoods are always a little edgy...
    esp the newer ones
    once we've staked out a claim in 5-10 yrs it's safe for the yuppy's
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 26, 2008 11:10 PM GMT
    I think gay guys who live in Gayborhoods do so for the most evident reason: Other gay men!

    I personally don't believe there is any argument to say otherwise. And yes, I believe it does have an adverse effect on the individual because a sort of homogeneous mentality develops that nothing is too good in the outskirts of town unless you're traveling to another Gayborhood (Chelsea, West Hollywood, South Beach, Boystown, etc.) of a major metropolitan area (NYC, LA, Miami, Chicago, etc.). With this set perspective and mentality, quality gay guys living in nearby suburbs are often (if not, all the time) relegated to being "too far" from the comfort zone of the Gayborhood. I mean, seriously: What is so scary about the towns and municipalities outside the Gayborhood?

    I proudly live in the suburbs, with my own home, and have dated "city boys" in the past who just thought my home location was "too far" despite having convenient public transportation connected nearby for both ends. But somehow, regardless of age, most gay guys feel like they'll be "missing out on something" if they astray too far from the damned Gayborhood. And thankfully, I've never had the urgency to move into a Gayborhood just to feel a sense of comraderie and trivial close ties to a neighborhood more interested in lascivious purposes than sincere and honest community.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 27, 2008 1:30 AM GMT
    lilmaninsc saidVery intersting.. I had no idea there were gayborhoods.


    These sites might give you an idea of where the "GAYborhood" is in what ever part of the country you are looking...learn and ENJOY!icon_cool.gif

    http://www.gaydemographics.org/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_village

    http://gayrealestate.typepad.com/gayrealestate_usa/2007/10/us-gayborhoods-.html
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Feb 27, 2008 3:38 AM GMT
    I live in Toronto's gaybourhood, not because I felt the need to live in an area with a large gay population, but for the convenience. I have everything I need around me, and work is a 10 mintue walk away. I don't know about other cities, but the gaybourhood here is clean and really safe. Can't beat that.

    The thing is, I rarely go to the clubs that are half a block away from where I live.

    It's important to have gay influences in your life, especially gay healthcare professionals. But I don't restrict myself to a 'gay only' lifestyle. I have an equal number of gay and straight friends, and go to straight bars as much as I go to gay bars. I tend to keep it pretty balanced.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 27, 2008 4:06 AM GMT
    I have been to alot of gayborhoods in the US and Europe and I will agree that Houston/Montrose is kind of creepy at night. Very dark and not many street lights. But I love eating at MING MONGS.
  • kinetic

    Posts: 1125

    Feb 27, 2008 4:40 AM GMT
    Yeah, it can definitely be pretty sketch after dark around the bars. The worst is having to look over my shoulder when I walk alone. -That just blows >_<
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 28, 2008 6:11 PM GMT
    It's a double edge sword, We live in the suburbs of Philly we travel about 40 min into the city about once every two months. We don't have a lot of stright friends but thous we do have don't quite get us. We find ourselves enjoying the company but at some point over dinner there reaches an akward area in the conversation. That really never happens with our gay friends becouse they tend to "get us". I like striaght people but they can be very strange indeed. Thus it is important to hit the City evey now and then to feel more at ease.