US: Study shows decline of ‘gay neighbourhoods’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A new study has found that areas traditionally known as ‘gay neighbourhoods’ are in decline.

A team led by Amin Ghaziani at the University of British Columbia found that fewer same-sex couples are settling in areas such as the Castro in San Francisco, Boystown in Chicago, and New York’s Chelsea, than did so a decade ago.

According to the study, districts have seen an 8% fall in gay men and 13% decrease in lesbians in the last 10 years.

There has also been an increase in the number of heterosexual families settling in these areas, which Ghaziani believes is evidence of a combination of urban regeneration and growing social acceptance of the LGBT population.

On the other hand, gay households are moving to historically straight neighbourhoods, especially around certain school districts, meaning that LGBT family units are visible in a record 93% of U.S. counties.

Although praising this evidence of social integration, Ghaziani fears that the loss of “gaybourhoods” could mean that gay culture could be at risk.

He said: “Gay neighborhoods have been crucial to the struggle for freedom, and have produced globally important contributions”, but added that “it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways to preserve these culturally important spaces”.

Ghaziani’s findings are published in his book There Goes the Gayborhood.

In February, a report found that LGBT people living in anti-gay areas of the US die an average of 12 years earlier than those who live in more liberal areas.