A rainbow shines over West Hollywood City Hall

In 2011, as a candidate for City Council, John D’Amico tapped into the anxiety many gay residents and other stakeholders had about West Hollywood: could our exemplary Gay City lose its gayness?

As culture changes, the idea of gay enclaves seems like it might some day become an historical relic, but the changes are also economic. When young people can’t afford to move in, the gayborhood risks going away. 

But this isn’t just a concern in West Hollywood, according to the New York Times, it’s a national trend:

Similar culture clashes are playing out across the nation in historically gay districts, nicknamed gayborhoods. Places like Greenwich Village in Manhattan and the Castro district in San Francisco, once incubators for the gay rights movement, have “straightened” in recent decades, leading to incidents of resistance and some angst about the effects on the L.G.B.T.Q. community.

With new developments charging $3000 to $4000 a month for an apartment and affordable housing options limited to those who have been on the list for years, a young 20-something gay person just can’t afford to move to West Hollywood the way they could 20 or 30 years ago. 

Time will tell what this means for the Gayborhood along Santa Monica Boulevard, and whether it is sustainable once the Generation X and older crown ages in place and moves on to a higher calling. That could be decades from now, or years, but it’s something local policy makers should be thinking about now.