The rising prices of “Gayborhoods” and the future of the LGBTQ community
If you live in “gayborhoods,” you would know the advantage of having an LGBTQ community around you where you can feel–and live– open and safe regardless of your gender or sexual orientation.
Ironically, it’s these very same elements that are seemingly pricing the LGBTQ community out of the neighborhood they live in.
However, while these LGBTQ cultural enclaves may seem endangered, not all is lost.
The premium of gayborhoods
According to online real estate Zillow, areas that have long provided safety, community, and belonging for the LGBTQ community dubbed “gayborhoods” are so in demand that the prices are going up in the market
The premium on these houses on the market can sometimes reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Examples of gayborhoods include West Palm Springs and San Jose in California and the Castro District in San Francisco. There’s also New York’s Greenwich Village.
Because of these rising prices, the surcharge is placing the neighborhood out of reach of the LGBTQ people, especially for women and transgender people who have on average lower incomes.
The reason behind the rising prices: the role of the LGBTQ community on the gentrification of urban areas.
By creating a sense of community and setting up businesses, they created tolerant neighborhoods, which brought in affluent LGBTQ residents. This, in turn, has brought in their heterosexual counterparts as well who want in.
Are gayborhoods dying out?
In an interview with USA Today, Amin Ghaziani, a professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia and author of “There Goes The Gayborhood?” said: “The gayer the block, the faster it rises in value.”
Ghaziani’s own research noted that areas with large populations of same-gender households match to real-estate values that are higher than the average.
There’s also signs that these neighborhoods’ gay identities are fading as more heterosexual residents come in and the population of LGBTQ people falls.
Ghaziani said developers and investors assessed where LGBT people are located in cities “as a strategy to increase their return on investment.”
“This is an exploitive strategy, one that reduces the humanity of LGBTQ people to their economic potential,” he told USA Today.
However, Ghaziani doesn’t think that LGBTQ spaces are dying out. On the contrary, they’re multiplying and diversifying. You just have to recognize where they are.
There’s hope for gayborhoods
In an interview with Mashable, Ghaziani noted that gayborhoods aren’t singular sites but are what he calls “cultural archipelagos.” These are what he deems as a series of queer islands, connected by sexuality and gender.
Further, he said that cities have more than one of these areas and that “LGBTQ Americans are diverse people. Why wouldn’t they express that diversity in the places they call home?”
For example, he pointed out that lesbian couples show geographical clustering but appear less visible because they exist outside traditional gayborhoods in less urban areas.
Likewise, queer people of color are located outside popularly known gayborhoods with black same-sex couples preferring to live where other black people are concentrated.
On the other hand, transgender people are most often excluded from the gayborhood entirely. As such, they often form their own “cultural islands” by sharing the same residential space together.
There are also digital gayborhoods thanks to social media platforms available for the new LGBTQ generation, who prefer to meet online first before meeting in real life.