How Distinct Is Gay Neighborhood Change? Patterns and Variation in Gayborhood Trajectories

Connor Gilroy , University of Washington, Seattle

This paper contests assumptions about recent change in gay neighborhoods. Whether gay neighborhoods have assimilated and gentrified following rising acceptance of LGBTQ people in US society, or whether these places have been coincidentally undermined by local urban processes, cultural and institutional changes in gay neighborhoods should be linked to demographic and economic change. I examine change on seven general characteristics in 28 gay neighborhoods across 23 cities, comparing them to similar neighborhoods. I identify gayborhoods using a digital listing of gay bars, and investigate changes using 2006-2015 American Community Survey estimates. While I show that gay neighborhoods share a common profile, I find limited evidence of gay neighborhood change. I conclude that gayborhood changes are largely local, and that LGBTQ acceptance has not brought about the integration or erosion of gay neighborhoods. This case contributes to the more general study of how urban minority enclaves respond to historical shifts.

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 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization