Series: Finding Our Place: LGBTQ Heritage in the United States

Collectives, Enclaves, and Gayborhoods

People in a crowd holding rainbow colored balloons that spell CHICAGO
Chicago Pride 2015.

Photo by Michael Lucas (CC BY 2.0; https://www.flickr.com/photos/luke67/19250339335)

Like other minority groups, LGBTQ Americans have created communities, with professional and social networks, which allow more open queer expression and foster support of one another. Some, like the Furies Collective of Washington, DC, were founded with an overtly political purpose; others, like The Castro in San Francisco or New York's Fire Island, evolved into queer spaces over time. Traditionally, these enclaves have helped to provide safe space for socializing and organizing. However, some critics argue that even in these spaces, those who benefit the most continue to be white, relatively affluent people. The term "gayborhood" has been associated with gentrification and the displacement of lower income people; others see a commodification of gayness. Tourists visiting The Castro can enjoy a brush with the illicit and exotic for the sake of entertainment, without confronting issues that plague the community, like bigotry or lack of health care access.