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Discussion tonight to explore issue of fading 'gayborhoods'

Last Updated Jun 2, 2015 at 7:01 am PDT

There Goes the Gayborhood? written by Amin Ghaziani (Courtesy of Princeton Printing Press)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver has the West End and San Francisco has the Castro, which are both gay neighbourhoods. But are these communities just as strong and populated as they were before? That’s the topic of discussion at SFU downtown Tuesday night, asking the question “Are so called gayborhoods fading away?”

The talk comes after the release of a new book exploring the issue called “There Goes the Gayborhood?” written by UBC Sociology Professor Amin Ghaziani. He says gayborhoods are not “declining” rather they are “changing.” His reason for his research was “to understand how and why gay neighbourhoods are changing in an era of unprecedented societal acceptance of LGBT people.”

SFU Gender Studies Professor Tiffany Muller Myrdahl is one of the organizers of the event. She explains demographic changes in gay neighbourhoods happen for many reasons. One argument
is more gay and lesbian people are moving to other parts of the city because they may feel just as included in those communities or for other life reasons like having children.

Even if this may be the trend, she believes there is still a need for gayborhoods because some may need the safe haven of that type of neighbourhood to feel accepted.

“One of the concerns is that we still need to develop a safe space and we shouldn’t make assumptions that tolerance doesn’t equal acceptance.”

She says it’s still important for communities to continue offering support, suggesting local governments look into the “kinds of services gayborhoods provide and are those provisions being taken up in other neighbourhoods or other parts of the city.”