Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The need for "gayborhoods"

The one angle I haven't heard mentioned in the discussion of the loss of gay neighborhoods is, if gays stay in the small towns where they grew up, where will they find people to date or settle down with? Is the density issue offset by the fact that in this enlightened age more people are coming out, so even in the smallest of villages there will be a reasonable pool of options? That seems unlikely. Aside from safety, community, and acceptance, isn't it possible that gays move to gay areas because there will be more possible partners to choose from?

This might be the obvious angle that everyone's avoiding because it could sound like it implies that being gay is only about sex. But that's not it at all. Jews wishing to marry other Jews do the same thing, moving to areas likely to have larger Jewish populations and greater densities of Jews in specific neighborhoods. And few would argue that Judaism is only about sex. If familiar with NYC, consider West 96th Street and Chelsea. There's something similar going on in those two areas. Wanting a choice of partners conflicts with a religious requirement or sexual orientation that immediately eliminates the vast majority of people one meets at random in America. What some are calling ghettoization is in part just a way of getting around that contradiction.

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