Open up a travel guide and you’re likely to see multiple passages about where to find the local “gayborhood,” a neighborhood disproportionately populated by LGBTQ people. In San Francisco, there’s the Castro. In Chicago, you have Boystown. And in Mexico City, there’s Zona Rosa.
Walk through any of these neighborhoods, and you’ll discover blocks of rainbow flags and queer clubs pulsing with extremely corny but good ’90s house music. Yet for over a decade, critics have been lamenting the alleged “death” and “demise” of these gayborhoods, accusing them of being “passé” or surrendering to gentrification.
“There goes the gayborhood,” The New York Times proclaimed in one 2017 headline.
But Amin Ghaziani, assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia, isn’t exactly grieving. In his recently published piece, “Cultural Archipelagos: New Directions in the Study of Sexuality and Space,” Ghaziani analyzes new research to make a bold hypothesis: The gayborhood hasn’t died, and it isn’t being diluted out of existence. Instead, gayborhoods are multiplying and diversifying.