Jump to content
LGBT Forum

Recommended Posts


In the largest cities, there is often one neighbourhood which was traditionally a "gay ghetto" or "gay village" with many small, independent businesses operated by LGBT proprietors or serving a primarily LGBT clientèle. Some (such as Castro Street in San Francisco) were nationally famous in their heyday.

In many cities, there was an alternative local weekly or monthly newspaper which served as a printed index of all of the other LGBT offerings in the "ghetto", "village" or community. There were specialised book stores with books and media from gay authors; there were women's book stores which specialised in feminist texts from small, independent niche publishing houses which espoused the cause of women and sexual minorities. There was gay apparel, there was gay pornography, there were all manner of unusual items which might not have been readily available anywhere else. There were places to eat which were owned by LGBT proprietors, gay bars (which were the primary meeting places of yesteryear when there were few other LGBT options) and bed and breakfasts which were owned and operated by LGBT couples or were welcoming to LGBT travelers.

The big-city LGBT commercial district was most known for its nightlife – the endless bars, the hilarious drag shows – but was also the home of many non-commercial community organisations ranging from LGBT discussion groups to gay sports teams, swim clubs, choirs or other activities which brought members of the community together under one or more common interests.

In the 21st century, a bit of this gay local colour is beginning to fade. As the level of discrimination declines, the need to concentrate the community in one big-city neighbourhood is gradually vanishing. Neighbourhoods which were once LGBT enclaves are being gentrified; the original residents who made the community what it was are being increasingly priced out of the market and into nondescript, mainstream suburbs. Pride parades which were once small but daring expressions of political dissent have become huge, commercialised events; they're larger than ever, but the original message has been lost in a demographic marketing gold rush in which big corporate sponsors brand and monetise the parades to sell more beer or other consumer commodities. The small alternative local newspapers, periodicals and alternative book stores are declining just as dramatically and rapidly as all other print media; many publications have abandoned their print editions to go Internet-only. People who used to meet at LGBT bars (or at the gay saunas and bathhouses which were infamous as hotbeds of sexual activity) are now increasingly instead meeting on-line.

Nonetheless, an LGBT neighbourhood or "village" still exists quite openly in most large metropolitan areas with colourful independent local businesses and community organisations which are out, loud and proud. It's worth checking local listings before you go to see what's on offer.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...