'Gayborhoods' still home to subtle discrimination

April 13, 2018 by Thandi Fletcher, University of British Columbia

Despite claiming to support gay rights, many straight people who live in traditionally gay neighbourhoods still practice subtle forms of discrimination when interacting with their gay and lesbian neighbours.

That's the key finding of new University of British Columbia sociology research published today in the journal City and Community.

The study found that straight people living in "gaybourhoods" say they support in theory, but many interact with their gay and lesbian neighbours on the street in ways that contradict those sentiments.

"There is a mistaken belief that marriage equality means the struggle for gay rights is over," said Amin Ghaziani, the study's senior author and associate professor of sociology at UBC. "But it is far from over. Prejudice and still exist— it's just more subtle and difficult to detect."

For the study, the researchers interviewed 53 straight people who live in two Chicago gaybourhoods, Boystown and Andersonville.

They found the majority of residents said they supported gay people. However, the researchers found their progressive attitudes were misaligned with their actions. While many residents said they don't care if people are gay or straight, some indicated that they don't like gay people who are "in your face."

When asked about resistance from LGBTQ communities to the widespread trend of straight people moving into gaybourhoods, some of the people interviewed responded with accusations of reverse discrimination and described gay people who challenged them as "segregationist" and "hetero-phobic."

Some said they believed they should have open access to cultural gay spaces, and were surprised that they felt "unwelcome" there.

"If a group of straight women hosted a bachelorette party in a gay bar, for example, they were surprised that they felt 'unwelcome,'" said Ghaziani. "That feeling of surprise, however, exemplifies a misguided belief that gay districts are trendy commodities when they are actually safe spaces for sexual minorities."

When the researchers asked residents if they had done anything to show their support of gay rights, such as marching in the pride parade, donating to an LGBTQ organization, or writing a letter in support of marriage equality to a politician, the majority said they had not.

Many also expected their gay and lesbian neighbours to be happy and welcoming of straight people moving into gaybourhoods, expressing sentiments like, "you wanted equality— this is what equality looks like."

Ghaziani said this argument exemplifies the fundamental misunderstanding of the inequality and discrimination that creates the need for gaybourhoods in the first place.

"The people we interviewed say their desire is for everyone to 'just get along,' but that desire implies that gaybourhoods are utopias where everyone can live, rather than places where minorities can find relief from discrimination and social isolation," he said.

With gay pride celebrations fast approaching around the world, Adriana Brodyn, the study's lead author and a PhD student in the UBC department of sociology, said it is important to pause and reflect on the state of LGBTQ .

"I hope that our research motivates people against becoming politically complacent or apathetic," she said. "If we do not motivate ourselves to be aware of this subtle form of prejudice, then it will just continue to perpetuate."

Explore further: Muslims face high rates of discrimination in Canada

More information: Adriana Brodyn et al, Performative Progressiveness: Accounting for New Forms of Inequality in the Gayborhood, City & Community (2018). DOI: 10.1111/cico.12298

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3 comments

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julianpenrod
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 14, 2018
Aiming to be another universal apologia and, frankly, sob story for sex deviates, this article really demonstrates the generally denied ugly nature of sex deviances.
To be valid, the article, for example, had to admit the homosexual tendency to reject normal people among them, promoting the politically oriented nature of the "discussion", this rejection is blamed on "discrimination" by normal people. The claimed ideal of places where everyone can live is casually overturned in favor of "safe spaces" for sex deviates. In other words, places where they can engage in their degeneracies without having to be reminded that they are, face it, abnormal, places where they can be deviate among other deviates who won't complain as normal people would about monstrous behaviors.
koitsu
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2018
"...but that desire implies that gaybourhoods are utopias where everyone can live, rather than places where minorities can find relief from discrimination and social isolation."

I am aware of that need. But, reality: it is naive to not realize that when a group of humans breaks off from the "horde" of humans, creates its own little area, and then ESPECIALLY if that group tries too keep outsiders out, they will generate resentment from some, possibly many of the "outsiders." Doesn't matter if outsiders are a minority or the majority. Human behavior. Solution: acceptance always and everywhere, even if it is not easy. Don't fight fire with fire.

Also, it's ridiculous to infer that "If one doesn't march with us..." then one is behaving in a discriminatory fashion. This is a non sequitur.
Jeffhans1
5 / 5 (3) Apr 14, 2018
Aiming to be another universal apologia and, frankly, sob story for sex deviates, this article really demonstrates the generally denied ugly nature of sex deviances.
To be valid, the article, for example, had to admit the homosexual tendency to reject normal people among them, promoting the politically oriented nature of the "discussion", this rejection is blamed on "discrimination" by normal people. The claimed ideal of places where everyone can live is casually overturned in favor of "safe spaces" for sex deviates. In other words, places where they can engage in their degeneracies without having to be reminded that they are, face it, abnormal, places where they can be deviate among other deviates who won't complain as normal people would about monstrous behaviors.

Luckily people like you are becoming more and more rare. Your deep seated homophobia is most likely linked to your latent homosexuality. Stop taking out your self hate on others and admit you are wrong.

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