unique visitors since July 27, 2005

« Burning Obstinancy | Main | Next Issue: The Boys of Belzec »

May 30, 2006

Comments

Tommy

I think there has been some extensive writing about the 'post civil-rights' gay community and concerns about how it is changing. And the epitaph has even been written - in some quarters. The question of course is how far along to post civil rights America we are.

As to those post civil right days, the models might be ADL, NAACP, suffregettes, etc - obviously, all very different agendas than the old day but many jews, blacks, and women were never actively been involved in them, at any time.

Just as long as the children don't start marrying straights (*gasp*) or taking the cure.

Sequoia

When I first moved to DC the Washington Blade ran an article debating the same kind of gentrification of Dupont Circle, and whether it was a good thing or a bad one. I for one think it's good.

Likewise for this article, Robbie. As much fun as American Idol was, I'm glad to see this kind of thoughtful discussion.

Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

While I can't prove it other than ancedotaly; here in central NJ the same happened over the last 15-years. Almost twenty-years ago there were 6-8 gay bars in Trenton NJ...depending on your definition of "gay" bar. Since for the same period we have had state-wide gay-rights as to jobs and bars, etc...the bars have withered as the college boys no-longer had to sneak-off to the bars to meet other boys; as you no-longer has to go to a "gay" bar to sit in a nice bar and hold-hands without being ejected; as you could go to any bar or restaurant, dance club or live in any neighborhood...not just the neglected ones where no-one would call the cops on the perverts.
The result? we have no gay bars in Trenton and no gay neighborhood ghettos anymore. The five gay bars in New Hope Pa are reduced down to one nice bar/restaruant and pool club facility. Everyone now has just spread-oput through the suburbs; the college boys cruise and cuddle on their own campuses; and the gay bars no-longer served their purpose as "safe refuge".

Tommy

. . . and the (da, da, da) advent of the Internet for people to meet.

Scott A

I can't help but think of the metrosexuality phenomenon that started about a year or two ago. Still, I can easily imagine a group of straight guys going with their girlfriends to a gay club and getting violent when someone is eventually approached. And they pretend they didn't know what the hell was going on around them.

I saw that movie "Soldier's Girl", about the straight soldier who falls in love with a preop-tranny after going to a gay bar, only to later be brutally murdered by someone in his own platoon.

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0324013/

QC

Robbie - If we were playing scrabble - I'd so challenge "dildonic."

Aatom

Tommy's on to something with the internet comment. There's a new backroom scene, one that is even more hidden and secretive than the tearooms of the past generation. The advent of more openness and visibility is wonderful and should be celebrated, but we're not out of the woods yet.

PatrickP

1. The Abbey is an overpriced tourist trap full of snobby bartenders, as well as a handful of straight guys looking to pounce on unsuspecting straight girls who think they are "safe" amongst the gays.

2. If I felt safe in straight bars I would go to one. The article quotes a lady who makes the point that bar fights and violence are not typical in gay bars. I refuse to enter any establishment that requires I be frisked our have a wand passed over me. This is what the big straight clubs are like in many cases.

3. I favor integration, but I do not think we are so far along that it is safe for two gay guys to hold hands or kiss each other in most straight bars. In fact, I'd bet that if I were to try this in a bar on Sunset Boulevard (also in West Hollywood btw, it just happens to be where all the straight clubs are) it would not be well received. There are still car loads of guys who drive up and down Santa Monica Boulevard and yell "Fag!" out the window (like that is supposed to hurt) and they throw eggs, marbles, and other objects and gay men have even in the last several years been beaten up in West Hollywood.

4. Sorry, but bus loads of squealing, drunk sorority girls is annoying in ANY setting.

5. Oh, and my boy Billy Francesca gets quoted in the article. Woo! We get a lot of straight girls with their gay friends," said Francesca, who wore a leotard with a plunging neckline and plenty of eye makeup as he spun records. Man that place was fun when it was Billy acting like a maniac and it was full of corn fed Midwestern guys instead of drunken women. :-)

Jake

I used to live in West Hollywood from 1997 to 2001, on Hampton Ave., near Genesee. When I first moved there, the Abbey was a cozy, casual coffeehouse. By the time I moved, I had turned into a full-on crowded bar with blaring club music. And even since then, it has grown even larger. I wish it had stayed the same.

It's too bad that the rents in West Hollywood have skyrocketed. It is a nice place to live. The location is great (nice and central), and the whole city gently slopes up into the base of the Hollywood Hills. My roommate and I rented a two-bedroom apartment in a nice building with a pool out back for under $1000. No way you can find that now.

In case it's not obvious, I really miss West Hollywood. And not for the reasons one might think. I wasn't much of a bar hopper or partier. I just liked being able to walk from place to place along Santa Monica or Sunset; the city is rather pedestrian-friendly. I liked heading over to the Virgin Megastore just to look around. I liked the opportunities to meet authors at their book signings at A Different Light or Book Soup.

Maybe one day I'll make it back.

Oscar

If you want to know the future of West Hollywood, look at Miami Beach. When gays make a place livable, the straights want it for themselves and crap it all up. In the early 80's Miami Beach was a mess. The gays came and clean it up and make it a nice place. Now is a mess again and gays are been assaulted and mugged again. It is not gay friendly anymore. That is the future of West Hollywood. Sad.

Josh

I guess as a youngish gay guy with almost entirely straight friends, I can definitively say that one's orientation is less and less of an issue the younger you go. My parents, for example, are downright shocked at how many evangelical Christians remain friends with me, or even become better friends with me once I come out, saying things like "I'm glad you finally chose to be honest." These are the same people—who still sometimes favorably quote hideous men like James Dobson—who endearingly try to set me up with their gay friends before I tell them how annoying that is.

Similarly, whenever I've gone out, it's almost always to straight bars and clubs, and no one even cares if I'm gay. My female friends and I check out guys, and I point out cute girls to my guy friends. They do the same with me, trying to gauge guys I'd like. It just doesn't matter to any of us, and most people here would consider all of us very conservative, politically and probably socially.

So while there is a downside to the number of exclusively gay bars decreasing, it is also the result of something the older activists should find remarkable: sexuality is becomming increasingly boring. And that's a good thing—we shouldn't HAVE to make a display of who and what we are, because it shouldn't matter. The gender to which we are attracted should be one of the least interesting things about us, not the one thing people think of when we are remembered.

So Robbie is basically right—the gay ghettos disappearing is in fact a victory, not a defeat. I say we celebrate it.

james

cool. i wonder if it is progress or the disintegration of a community, when we go from gay ghettoes to assimilating into the larger community.

i've seen this evolution of a neighborhood happen here - crappy, scary neighborhood gets cleaned up by the gays, becomes gay neighborhood, becomes safe gay neighborhood, the straight women, who 'love' us and feel safe around us move in, they don't want to move out, they set up house with their hubbies and babies and SUV-type strollers, then while mommie on her cell phone sipping her frappucino sees dildoes in a window, she's shocked! horrified! but she's no prude, you know, and she has nothing against the gays, but there are children in the neighborhood and the shop-owners should be more responsible and then the petitions and news coverage come and before long the shop owners, then the bar owners, say the hell with it, it's not worth the trouble fighting, then the cheap rental apartments become more expensive, then go condo and while the gays who found a welcoming palce there 10 and 15 and maybe even 20 years ago have moved on, where do the boys and girls from the little towns who had hoped to find a refuge among others like them in the big city go now?

just a thought ...

Joe.My.God.

Typical assimilationist bullshit.

I agree with Oscar completely.

When I first started going to South Beach around 1988, it was rough and dangerous. Enter the fags, and within 5 years it was a beautiful paradise and I had a blast there every weekend. Now, almost 10 years after its gay peak, South Beach is still mostly beautiful, but is now can be quite a dangerous place to be openly gay. The last (and probably final) time I was there, a group of us were walking down Washington Avenue (Washington!) and we were jeered and taunted by the bumper-to-bumper traffic of low-rider, bass-booming, neon-underlit cars full of threatening young het men.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Or more correctly, why we can't have nice things that last. We've always got to stay one step ahead of the breeders, as they are increasingly hotter on our tails, chasing the improved neighborhoods, the refurbished housing stock, and interesting shops, restaurants, and bars. This has been happening for at least 20 years, and I predict that it will continue.

West Village to Chelsea to Hells Kitchen.

Key West to South Beach to Fort Lauderdale.

Etc, etc.

Aatom

the breeders are coming! the breeders are coming!!

why be so pessimistic? perhaps we're not being 'chased away' so much as it is just time to move on to the next fabulous thing. there are simple demographic and economic factors that help determine the evolution of a gentrified neighborhood, and it tends to work this way: the Gays find a squalid industrial wasteland, inject a lot of money and semen into it until it loses its edge and becomes trendy and boring, and then rich white families move in and drive the rent sky high.

Why on earth would you want to stay in a place like that?

Hell's Kitchen is already reaching a critical mass point, I'm looking for the Fulton St/Wall St hub to become hot next.

Josh

JoeMyGod is so repressed! I really feel bad for him, that he can't feel comfortable unless he is always surrounded by people who act and think exactly as he does. It's a shame.

Tom

"This is why we can't have nice things."

Sorry, Mom. We'll ask the breeders not to jump on the living room couch again...

Joe.My.God.

I'm perfectly capable of feeling comfortable around non-violent people.

Gay neighborhoods are safer because straight people are far more violent.

Gay nightclubs and bars are safer because straight people are far, far more violent.

Anytime heterosexuals begin to intrude into the gay world, the immediate effect is a profound increase in violence.

Witness West Hollywood.

Witness South Beach.

Witness CHELSEA, which has had THREE nightclub murders in the last 10 days.

That the quality of life in gay neighborhoods degrades as the number of heterosexuals increases is inarguable. It's a problem that I believe to be inherently unfixable, primarily due to the brain-wiring of young heterosexual men. Whether you consider to that a price worth paying, in order to have a more broadly balanced cultural experience, is up to you.

I do not.

Aatom

I'm not sure the Chelsea murders are reflective of a demographic shift in the neighborhood so much as in the nightclubs that were involved. Large gatherings of Bridge & Tunnel trash tend to result in unfortunate incidents.

The gay nightclub scene in the west Chelsea industrial wasteland is soon becoming a relic of the past. Smaller red-rope style lounges in the putrid meatpacking district (that's not just social commentary, you really have to smell the place to believe it) have replaced the 90's mega-club scene and DJ dinosaurs like Junior are relegated to monthly gigs at lounges and rotting carcasses of nightclubs like Spirit. Meanwhile, the next gen of gay kids are all hung up on maudlin hipster rock and teenybopper remixes where they get to pretend that they are britney's backup dancers in their half-tees. Truly disturbing for me, as I was raised on warehouse parties where you didn't hear one radio hit for 14 hours at a time.

But that's growing old for you. The next generation always seems a bit more frivolous and disrespectful, the culture you were familiar with gets replaced and scorned, and in general the whole world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket to most grown-ups. Violence and crime always seem more prevalent, and more disturbing. Yet each generation survives somehow, and we'll just keep getting older and more disgusted at the world around us. Same as it ever was.

I'm not dismissing your argunments, Joe, I see the trends you describe, and if I see many more baby strollers on 8th Avenue walking past the Blue Store it might make me ill. But I'm very wary of complaints about change, especially in NYC. Thiss is a living city, never exactly the same for more than year or two at a time, and it's the organic growth and development that keeps it so exciting. If it's safety and stability that you want, you honestly might want to consider moving upstate.

Are young straight boys more prone to violence than their gay counterparts? Perhaps. Or maybe we just inflict violence on one another in less obvious ways.

Scott A

On average (including all young guys, not just the ones I'd be likely to see in my own social circles), I expect a young heterosexual male who is in the vicinity of any male they know to be gay to: think the gay guy is hitting on them; feel the need to assert their masculinity and heterosexual status; say something demeaning about gays. I do remember when I was in High School, about 4 years ago, that college was going to be the awesome accepting place where I would have all these straight friends who would treat me like a member of the wolf pack et cetera... Sadly though, I found out that once most guys knew about it, I magically became afflicted with some ailment causing most straight guys to snicker and stare at me like a strange animal. Infrequently there have been straight guy friends who are real loving friends, and they are cherished.

Joe.My.God.

Aatom, you make two very important points:

1. Nothing ever stays the same and it's silly to expect a neighborhood in a dynamic place like NYC to remain static. I certainly don't. But I won't remain static either, and as a gayborhood becomes straighter, I am certainly likely to join the exodus of mo's in search of faggier (albeit temporarily crummier) surroundings, because I like being around my own people. Liking yourself and others like you is not a fault, despite how others here feel.

2. I should have clarified that straight men are more prone to physical violence. Our violence is more likely to be verbal. "Nice outfit!".

John

Josh calling Joe.My.God repressed is just rich! It's always the snide, personal attacks with that one. The irony of course is that Josh is probably surrounded by white evangelicals all the time, (i.e. people who think, look and act just like him.) I don't doubt that Joe is challenged by more diversity of opinion than Jesus boy there.

And anyway what is so wrong with being around like-minded individuals? Christians, in addition to enriching their faith, feel a greater sense of community when surrounded by people who share a similar set of values. I don't see why that sense of community (and mourning its loss) is any less valid for gays who find it in a bar or other gay-specific social group.

As for Josh's remarks that gay bars are about having to display one's self, I'd say it's the complete opposite. It's about being yourself, comfortable, without artifice or the fear of violence. Busloads of tourists drive through the Castro weekly to gawk at gays just being themselves on the street. It's the presence of straight gawkers--probably from Colorado--that turns what is mundane and unremarkable (i.e. two men holding hands on the way to the movies) into a freak show.

I'm sure I'm not the first to say that what you don't know about gay people is a lot.

QC

JMG: Breeders. Straight people are violent. Heterosexuals intrude. Heterosexuals degrade.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such sweeping generalizations. Very heterophobic.

Aatom

Yes, I think that was the general tone that rubbed me wrong as well, QC, but I am most def a gay ghetto queen at heart, like Joe, and I agree with him that I would prefer to follow the fags to the next terribly trendy neighborhood than mingle with yuppy families. For better or worse, Manhattan is a very segregated place, in part it is this patchwork of identity villages that comprise the metropolis that gives it its charm. I could never live on the Upper East Side, for instance (sorry, Mal), there are just too many pubs and frat boys for my taste.

I don't have a problem with straight people, and love living in a city big enough and rich enough to hold all types of people. And I don't live in a gay ghetto currently, although the quaint riverside road that runs up the west side of the Hudson is certainly attracting more than few mo's on a budget, but I would feel very comfortable living in Chelsea or Hell's Kitchen, and find myself more often than not in those two areas in my free time.

It's an interesting discussion. And I honestly think there should be room enough in this world, or in the city you choose to live in as a gay person, for those that want to assimilate into the larger culture and those who choose to group into sexual identity ghettoes for fuin and comfort level. I think to demonize one way over the other is to miss the variety and richness of our culture.

Joe.My.God.

Straight people are violent.

I consider this to be inarguable, relative to gay people.

Heterosexuals intrude.

All gay scenes are inevitably intruded upon by heterosexuals. Historically inarguable.

Heterosexuals degrade.

Please cite one example of a gay neighborhood improved by a new straight presence. One, please.

Joe.My.God.

I honestly think there should be room enough in this world, or in the city you choose to live in as a gay person, for those that want to assimilate into the larger culture and those who choose to group into sexual identity ghettoes for fuin and comfort level. I think to demonize one way over the other is to miss the variety and richness of our culture.
.

But wasn't that the entire point of this post and most of its supportive comments?

The comments to this entry are closed.



SEARCH MY SITE SEARCH THE WEB

Reconstruction in progress, now with 70% less Ben Wade!
RSS Feed
Add to My FeedBurner
Subscribe with Bloglines

"We really love your blog"
--Steph&Alek

"I love reading you ... very entertaining!"
--Dan Savage

"Definition of Pathetic"
--Gay Orbit

"You can write, pal."
--Crooks&Liars

"[crickets chirping]"
--GayPatriot

"Love the Blog. Robbie is BRILLIANT and Malcontent is ok, too."
--Boozhy

"You are too smart a person to be leaving one-note bitchy insults on the blogs of 22-year-olds."
--VividBlurry

"Fun, informative and fresh."
--Rod 2.0

"Snide."
--Torture.com

"Love your site."
--A Atom Bomb

"Cool blog!"
--Made in Brazil

Who's Linking to Me?

Creative Commons License