A gay village (also known as a gay neighborhood, gay district) is a geographical area with generally recognized boundaries, where a large number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people live or frequent. Gay villages often contain a number of gay-oriented establishments, such as gay bars and pubs, nightclubs, bathhouses, restaurants, boutiques and bookstores. Among the most famous gay villages are Soho in London, Greenwich village in New York, the Castro area in San Francisco and Nollendorfplatz in Berlin.
Such areas may represent a gay-friendly oasis in an otherwise hostile city, or may simply have a high concentration of gay residents and/or businesses. Much as other urbanized groups, some gay men and women have managed to utilize their spaces as a way to reflect gay cultural value and serve the special needs of individuals in relation to society at large.
Today, these neighborhoods can typically be found in the upscale or trendy parts of town 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 the homosexual communities to live together for their mutual safety.
However, 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 gay community may eventually turn these areas into more expensive neighborhoods, a process known as gentrification – a phenomenon in which gays often play a pioneer role. However, this process does not always work out to the benefit of gay communities, as they often see property values rise so high that they can no longer afford them as high rise condominiums are built and gay bars move out. (Or the only gay establishments that remain are those catering to a more upscale clientele.)
Today's manifestations of "gay ghettos" bear little resemblance to those of the 1970s.
Famous quotes containing the words gay and/or village:
“Kringelein: Im going to live. Im going to have a good time while I can.
The Baron: Thats my motto, Kringelein. A short life and a gay one.”
—William A. Drake (19001965)
“This is the village where the funeral
Stilted its dusty march over deep ruts
Up the hillside covered with queens lace
To the patch of weeds known finally to all.”
—Allen Tate (18991979)