There Goes the Gayborhood? Book
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An in-depth look at America's changing gay neighbourhoods
Gay neighbourhoods, like the legendary Castro District in San Francisco and New York's Greenwich Village, have long provided sexual minorities with safe havens in an often unsafe world. But as our society increasingly accepts gays and lesbians into the mainstream, are "gaybourhoods" destined to disappear? Amin Ghaziani provides an incisive look at the origins of these unique cultural enclaves, the reasons why they are changing today, and their prospects for the future.
Drawing on a wealth of evidence-including census data, opinion polls, hundreds of newspaper reports from across the United States, and more than one hundred original interviews with residents in Chicago, one of the most paradigmatic cities in America-There Goes the Gaybourhood? argues that political gains and societal acceptance are allowing gays and lesbians to imagine expansive possibilities for a life beyond the gaybourhood. The dawn of a new post-gay era is altering the character and composition of existing enclaves across the country, but the spirit of integration can coexist alongside the celebration of differences in subtle and sometimes surprising ways.
Exploring the intimate relationship between sexuality and the city, this cutting-edge book reveals how gaybourhoods, like the cities that surround them, are organic and continually evolving places. Gaybourhoods have nurtured sexual minorities throughout the twentieth century and, despite the unstoppable forces of flux, will remain resonant and revelatory features of urban life.
"Drawing on an impressive array of media sources, census counts, opinion polls, interviews and ethnographic observations, Ghaziani develops a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of social change related to gay-dominated areas within metropolitan cities. The arguments in the book are oriented around one particular paradox: the perceived decline of 'the gayborhood' in US cities and the emergence of a post-gay world occurred primarily because of the erosion of homophobia. How do gay people keep together, Ghaziani asks, when they no longer see the need to live in the same place for safety or solidarity? . . . Ghaziani writes in an engaging, inclusive style, and it is easy to see why his book has drawn such widespread media attention. This is done without loss of clarity or academic rigour, and is particularly welcome in a sub-discipline where language all-too-often becomes obtuse and impenetrable."
Mark McCormack, Sociology
"Gayborhood is an excellent resource . . . [The book] presents an intriguing answer to its question. The gayborhood is not simply 'disappearing, ' but it is transforming and changing. Working with this complex process rather than lamenting a time past is an interesting way to think about queerness and queer identity in a world that is also fluid and changing.
"Journal of Homosexuality
"Ghaziani adopts a wide-reaching, diachronic perspective on the rise of gay neighbourhoods in the USA, one informed by the analysis of an impressive indeed overwhelming range of statistical data, in support of his findings the author making use of a great deal of census data, from opinion polls to censuses of national gay and lesbian population. . . . In this highly topical well researched work, Ghaziani contributes a broad, cross-disciplinary investigation as well as an in-depth treatment of the future of gaybourhood in urban America, reflecting authoritatively on the new 'cultural archipelagos' of gay enclaves and cisgender identity."
Adriana Neagu, American British Canadian Studies
"Ghaziani offers passionate and refreshing insights on a politically charged issue. Taking the 'gayborhood' as his subject, Ghaziani analyses the phenomenon of 'gay ghettos' using rich statistical data, historical analysis, a comprehensive review of news reports, and in-depth interviews with gays and heterosexuals. The result is a panoramic view of both the dimensions and cultural evolution of the gay neighbourhood, and a response to the titular question: are gayborhoods and their once rich cultural vibrancy in decline? Ghaziani's answers refuse easy scapegoats or facile conclusions, and suggest that the cultural evolution of gayborhoods need not entail their demise. He brings much needed nuance to heated debates about the role of gay neighbourhoods in wider patterns of gentrification. . . . The findings are not to be missed.