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MrSmith

Are Gay Ghettos a good or bad thing?

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Minneapolis has a huge gay community (3rd or 4th largest pride in the US) and 3 of the 13 city council members are openly gay --as well as the female fire chief. However, we have no identifiable Gay neighbohood. Gays live all over the city and the bars and gay themed stores are not grouped together.

Is it better to be integrated into the fabric of a city or is a ghetto important?

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It is HIGHLY desirable to have a district with mostly shops/nightclubs/bars/restaurants that cater to gay clientele. Most gay people will agree, 10 gay businesses in one location are better than 20 spread out through a city. IMO, travelling to cities like DC and Chicago that have clearly defined districts is much better than places like LA and Minneapolis, which are very tolerant, but decentralized. I don't think that all gay people should strive to LIVE in one area of the city, but I think an active centralized community for gay businesses and community organizations is a very good thing. Businesses feed off of each other, and also, with a high concentration of gay people, there are much better opportunities to provide community services to them, and raise awareness to issues, such as HIV as well as political issues.

Ideally, gays of course should not feel like this is the only place in the city that they are welcome, and clearly there are cities that have major gayborhoods, but the rest of the city is very gay-friendly as well (NYC, SF, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, etc).

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It is HIGHLY desirable to have a district with mostly shops/nightclubs/bars/restaurants that cater to gay clientele.  Most gay people will agree, 10 gay businesses in one location are better than 20 spread out through a city.  IMO, travelling to cities like DC and Chicago that have clearly defined districts is much better than places like LA and Minneapolis, which are very tolerant, but decentralized.  I don't think that all gay people should strive to LIVE in one area of the city, but I think an active centralized community for gay businesses and community organizations is a very good thing.  Businesses feed off of each other, and also, with a high concentration of gay people, there are much better opportunities to provide community services to them, and raise awareness to issues, such as HIV as well as political issues.

Ideally, gays of course should not feel like this is the only place in the city that they are welcome, and clearly there are cities that have major gayborhoods, but the rest of the city is very gay-friendly as well (NYC, SF, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, etc).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with the last part, fully.

Any major city in the US can have a gay business-centric neighborhood, but if the rest of the city isn't friendly towards gays, then it's basically worthless.

As far as the topic-line of the thread: "are they good or bad?"----Good by-and-large. This "segregation" can either be seen as elitist behavior or as fear or any number of negative things, which have been brought up on here before, but a gay district is good business-wise and lets others know that the city is accepting and forward-thinking.

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Although I think a "gay-borhood" is fun and good for gay people, I wonder if it ultimately leads to less understanding because fewer people have contact with gays.

While the entire city of Minneapolis is liberal, we are finding the surrounding suburbs increasingly conservative. The problem is that if the majority of liberal people (or gay people) live in one area they loose some political power. Additionally this separation also encourages less understanding, more stereotypes etc. It is much easier for conservatives to criticize gays when they don't know any.

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Although I think a "gay-borhood" is fun and good for gay people, I wonder if it ultimately leads to less understanding because fewer people have contact with gays.

While the entire city of Minneapolis is liberal, we are finding the surrounding suburbs increasingly conservative.  The problem is that if the majority of liberal people (or gay people) live in one area they loose some political power.  Additionally this separation also encourages less understanding, more stereotypes etc.  It is much easier for conservatives to criticize gays when they don't know any.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's a very good point, which is why I tend to think that a gay business district is preferable to a neighborhood with only gays living in it. I think the living quarters should be mixed to promote forward-thinking, but I think that a gay area of businesses and other groups would be good for the indigenous city's gay population.

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I think that everyone should all cultivate an active, vibrant community, whether it is localized or distributed across the city. Both gay ghettoes and integrated communities help combat the idea that gay and lesbian people are somehow different from the regular population as a whole.

But only if one condition is satisfied:

YOU ARE VISIBLE.

If you aren't, if you are "in the closet," you run the risk of playing into long-held ideals that there is only one way to live your life. And certain people here reading this know that traditional societies can hold strong sway over the thoughts and feelings of ANY community.

If you are invisible, you risk validating the demonization of GLBT people that is rampant in our society.

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Chicago ran into this very question. The city wanted to streetscape N. Halsted, the main street of boystown (three guesses on how the neighborhood got it's name). There were going to be big rainbow arches over the the street, all kinds of banners and flags and signs, oh my! Local residents said, you know, we appreciate the thought, but we don't want others to feel they're not welcome and we don't want to feel like we're in a "ghetto". So the city toned down the plans considerably. The most prominent features are decorative street light pylons with metal rainbow rings around them. Residents are happy to have some recognition without standing out like a sore thumb.

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I imagine that it's helpful for a single gay person to have a neighborhood where it's safe to assume that people swing your way.

I wonder whether a gay ghetto tends to form BECAUSE it's in a region generally unfriendly to gays. One example I'm thinking of is Midtown Atlanta, which ranges from somewhat gay to outright flaming depending on the neighborhood. (In fact, "Outwrite" is the name of a gay bookstore at Piedmont and Tenth St., the unofficial epicenter of gay Atlanta. :lol:) But most of Atlanta isn't exactly the most accepting of alternative sexualities, you know?

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^ But Midtown isn't even a gay-centric neighborhood anymore, 15 years ago yes - but not anymore. Many gays have move on to other neighborhoods - to be in the frontline of gentrification - or even to the suburbs. Midtown is being largely overwhelmed by young heterosexuals, including my wife & I who lived there 5 years ago.

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I'd say that a GBD (gay business district) is a good thing. It certainly does not mean that cities with no such area are lacking but it does promote awareness throughout the entire city. Nashville has just started developing its GBD. There are 3 bars, the gay department store, the Hustler Store (nice anchor with deep pockets) and other friendly businesses. I can see more development opportunities ahead such as living spaces and more eateries and coffee shops (you know already that EVERY corner in a city needs a Starbucks and a Walgreens - LOL). Memphis doesn't have a GBD, but we do have a very open and liberal area called Cooper-Young where just about everyone is accepted.

a GBD spurs economic activity, tourism and development.

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I think whether or not Gay Ghettos would work largely depends on the region. I don't think that the idea would work where I live but maybe somewhere else.

Most people don't go around talking about their sexuality, and a great number or gays don't either, so as long as no one is hanging on one another in public, I don't see why not.

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In New Orleans, a part of the French Quarter is home to many gay bars and stores, and many gay people live there. I think having a "gay friendly area" and not necessarily a "gay ghetto" is a good idea. In N.O. gay people live in various parts of the city, work in various parts of the city, and spend time various parts of the city. But if they want to go out and have a good time in an area that contains a large gay population, they can go to various areas of the French Quarter. I think that it is a great thing not only for the gay people, but for tourism and business in the French Quarter.

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