Ybor City – Tampa’s Gay Ghetto
Tampa, Florida, may not be home to Disney World, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the state’s busiest tourist areas. The Tampa Bay Area is home to over 4 million people, while the city proper has a population of over 400,000. With such a large city, it’s no surprise that it has a gayborhood. While Tampa is certainly very LGBTQ-friendly, the neighborhood of Ybor City tends to be the most welcoming and diverse.
The History of Ybor City
Ybor City is named after its founder, Vicente Martinez-Ybor. Originally, the area was home to dozens of cigar factories and populated mostly by immigrants from Cuba, Italy, and Spain. It was actually fairly unique because of this—few other cities in the South were home to an all-immigrant population. This had an impact on the food, the style of homes, and much more, creating a very unique neighborhood.
As Ybor City grew over the years, its population changed. During the Great Depression, cigars were a luxury few people could afford, leading to many factories closing. The neighborhood continued to decline during World War II, and by the 1970s, much of it was abandoned. Finally, in the 1980s, a number of artists took advantage of the low housing costs of the area, and gentrification began. By the 2000s, Ybor City had become known for its nightlife, and many of the old cigar factories had been renovated and transformed into bars, offices, and even apartment complexes.
A number of the artists who worked to renovate the area were part of the LGBTQ community. Their influence led to a number of different gay bars, restaurants, boutiques, shops, and other organizations opening up in Ybor City, many of which were situated between 8th Avenue and 15th Street. Today, this area is home to the GaYBOR Coalition, a nonprofit group made up of various LGBTQ-owned businesses in Ybor City. The group hosts the annual GaYBOR Days event around the Fourth of July and helps promote the LGBTQ community through Tampa and the entire state. The GaYBOR coalition is noted for including a number of businesses owned by straight allies.
Moving to Ybor City
Thinking about moving to the Ybor City neighborhood? Homes here can range from around $150,000 to $300,000 or more. It all depends on the size and the exact location in the neighborhood. A gay or lesbian real estate expert can help you find the home that’s perfect for your needs.