Gay village

A gay village (also known as a gay neighborhood, gay enclave, gayvenue, gay ghetto, gaytto, gay district, gaytown or gayborhood) is a geographical area with generally recognized boundaries, inhabited or frequented by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBT) people. Gay villages often contain a number of gay-oriented establishments, such as gay bars and pubs, nightclubs, bathhouses, restaurants, boutiques and bookstores.

The Stonewall Inn in the gay village of Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York City, the cradle of the modern gay rights movement[1][2][3]
Gay village in le Marais, Paris
Gay village in Schöneberg, Berlin
Gay village in Soho, London
A street sign on the edge of Philadelphia's Gayborhood
Gay Bear in Nollendorfplatz, Berlin
Metro station in Montreal's Gay Village district

Among the most famous gay villages are New York City's Greenwich Village, Hell's Kitchen, and Chelsea[4] neighborhoods in Manhattan; Fire Island and The Hamptons on Long Island; Asbury Park, Lambertville, and Maplewood in New Jersey; Boston's South End, Jamaica Plain, and Provincetown, Massachusetts; Philadelphia's Gayborhood; Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle; Midtown Atlanta; Chicago's Boystown; London's Soho, Birmingham's Gay Village, Brighton's Kemptown and Manchester's Canal Street, all in England; Los Angeles County's West Hollywood; as well as Barcelona Province's Sitges, Toronto's Church and Wellesley neighborhood, the Castro of San Francisco; Madrid's Chueca, Sydney's Newtown and Darlinghurst, Berlin's Schöneberg, the Gay Street in Rome, Le Marais in Paris, Green Point in Cape Town; Melville in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Zona Rosa in Mexico City.

Such areas may represent a LGBT-friendly oasis in an otherwise hostile city, or may simply have a high concentration of gay residents and businesses. Much as other urbanized groups, some LGBT people have managed to utilize their spaces as a way to reflect their cultural value and serve the special needs of individuals in relation to society at large.

Today, these neighborhoods can typically be found in the upper-class areas of a given city, like in Manhattan, chosen for aesthetic or historic value, no longer resulting from the sociopolitical ostracization and the constant threat of physical violence from homophobic individuals that originally motivated these communities to live together for their mutual safety.

These neighborhoods are also often found in working-class parts of the city, or in the neglected fringe of a downtown area  communities which may have been upscale historically but became economically depressed and socially disorganized. In these cases, the establishment of a LGBT community has turned some of these areas into more expensive neighborhoods, a process known as gentrification  a phenomenon in which LGBT people often play a pioneer role.[5] This process does not always work out to the benefit of these communities, as they often see property values rise so high that they can no longer afford them as high-rise condominiums are built and bars move out, or the only LGBT establishments that remain are those catering to a more upscale clientele. However, today's manifestations of "queer ghettos" bear little resemblance to those of the 1970s.[2]


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