Are 'Gayborhoods' An Endangered Species?

Many so called 'gay ghettos', such as San Francisco's Castro District or D.C.'s Dupont Circle, are succumbing to the forces of gentrification and attracting large numbers of heterosexual residents -- causing some in the GLBT community to worry.

"In just about any other place, the sight of a man and woman pushing a stroller would be welcomed as a sign of stability and safety. In San Francisco's heavily gay Castro District, some people see this and think: There goes the neighborhood.

Gay leaders in the Castro and other gay neighborhoods around America fear their enclaves are losing their distinct identities.

These areas are slowly being altered by an influx of heterosexual couples, the forces of gentrification, and growing confidence among gays that they can live pretty much wherever they want nowadays and do not need the security of being in a 'gay ghetto.'"

"Don Reuter, a New York writer researching a book on the rise and fall of gay neighborhoods in the U.S., said he has observed a trend in cities as far-flung as New Orleans, Philadelphia and Seattle: Gay neighborhoods are becoming 'Disneyfied' places, with chain stores and other businesses with little or no overt appeal to gays.

'What makes these neighborhoods gay? Not much,' he concluded.

As the fear of AIDS has eased, gay neighborhoods have become attractive to developers and investors trying to encourage families and empty-nesters to return to city centers, Reuter said."

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