The Downsides of Gentrification on the Gay Neighborhood

When people think of gentrification, they often think of older, rundown neighborhoods being reinvigorated and restored. Gentrification can do a lot of good to a neighborhood. It brings new life back into sections of a city that once flourished but then were typically hit by hard times. These areas often become home to a large amount of crime while in disrepair, so gentrification helps eliminate this.

Run down neighborhoods also tend to become home to those that the more affluent residents find “undesirable.” For quite some time, this included the LGBTQ community. That’s why many gay ghettos started out as poor, deteriorating neighborhoods in need of some repairs. Today, partly in thanks to the LGBTQ residents of these areas, many gay neighborhoods have gone through gentrification and are now more affluent areas with low crime and gorgeous, restored homes. But there are some downsides to gentrification, unfortunately. You may want to learn about these downsides before working with a gay or lesbian real estate agent to move into a gayborhood.

Low-Income Residents Are Forced Out

The Downsides of Gentrification on the Gay NeighborhoodAs gentrification takes hold, housing prices typically rise. In many cases, this makes it all but impossible for low-income residents of the gayborhood to remain there. If they rent, the rent goes up. If they own, their property taxes increase as the neighborhood becomes more valuable. They may also find that the cost of basic necessities such as groceries increase as higher-end stores move into the area.

Racial Tensions Can Increase

Another side effect of gentrification is that it can lead to increasing racial tensions. This is generally from the people who move into the neighborhood rather than those who have been a part of it for years. These new residents are looking at the gayborhood as an affluent, upper-class area. As such, they may also come in with preconceived racial notions that lead to conflict with their neighbors.

Certain Professions or Identities Are Pushed Out

Because these gentrified areas were once run down, they became home to a number of people who simply didn’t feel welcome elsewhere. In the LGBTQ community, this may include those are part of a subgroup such as leather daddies or those who enjoy BDSM. As the neighborhood becomes a desirable place to live, clubs and other businesses that cater to these subcultures may become targeted by those who look down on these groups. People may feel as if their neighborhood is no longer their home because they’re being pushed out for having particular interests or for identifying one way or another.

Many people may find it odd that an LGBTQ neighborhood, even after being gentrified, would turn against others due to their race or their interests. However, it does happen. It may not occur in every gay village, fortunately, but gentrification does transform the neighborhood in a number of ways, not all of them positive.

San Francisco’s SoMa Neighborhood

Looking for a great place to live in San Francisco that is welcoming, but also more affordable than the Castro District? One area to consider is South of Market, better known as SoMa. The SoMa neighborhood is actually pretty large, so there are a good number of homes here. In fact, SoMa is so big it’s actually been divided further into smaller neighborhoods, including Rincon Hill, Yerba Buena, South Beach, South Park, and the Financial District South area.

Where Is SoMa?

San Franciscos SoMa NeighborhoodSoMa is, as the name suggested, located south of Market Street. San Francisco Bay sits to the northeast of the area, while the south is boarded by Division Street and US Route 101. The boundaries of SoMa aren’t exactly set, which does make it somewhat unclear where one neighborhood begins and another ends. Specifically, SoMa, the Mission District, and Mission Bay tend to overlap in areas. While the boundaries have changed, it doesn’t really matter too much if you live in one of the areas where it’s unclear what neighborhood you’re in.

The LGBTQ Community in SoMa

One of the most unique sub-neighborhoods in SoMa is the LGBTQ and Leather Cultural District. It’s fairly new—the area was officially created in 2018. It’s situated between Howard St, US 101, 7th Street, and I-80. The district was formed as a way of maintaining and sharing the history of the leather subculture that had been active in SoMa for almost 50 years. The area includes The Stud, the oldest gay bar in San Francisco.

Activities and Events

You don’t have to be a part of the leather subculture in order to enjoy everything SoMa has to offer, of course. There are many different arts and cultural events held in the area, plus many museums to visit. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is located in SoMa, as are the Old Mint, the Yerba Buena Gardens, the SOMArts cultural facility, and more.

SoMa is home to the Folsom Street Fair, a leather subculture fair held during Leather Pride Week. There are also a number of Filipino cultural events held throughout the year thanks to the large Filipino community that lives in the area.

Want to learn more about housing options in SoMa? Ask a local gay or lesbian real estate agent to show you properties in the area.

Finding the Right Contractors to Work on Your Property

While it’s 2019 and LGBTQ people are enjoying more and more acceptance, the sad truth is that there’s always the risk of running into someone who will discriminate against you. This is especially true if you live in a fairly conservative area. We’ve all heard the horror stories about bakeries and restaurants refusing service to LGBTQ customers. While you may have never directly experienced this type of behavior, you may be concerned that it could happen to you.

One area where it can be hard to hide the fact that you’re in a same-sex relationship is when you hire a contractor to either work on your home before you sell it or to do some renovations on your new home. How can you find contractors who won’t be judgmental or flat out discriminate against you?

Ask Your Agent

Finding the Right Contractors to Work on Your PropertyIf you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate agent, they likely know contractors who do not discriminate. Simply ask them if they have any contractors they can refer you to. Most agents will give you several different contractors to talk to so you can get quotes to compare. Remember that these are only referrals. These contractors don’t work for the agent, and your agent has no control over the quality of their work. However, most agents only refer clients to contractors they know will do a good job or that previous clients have favorably reviewed.

Look in Local LGBTQ Publications

Most large cities have a LGBTQ newspaper, magazine, or other local publication. Many of these are even free and can be found at businesses that support the community. Many LGBTQ-owned businesses, including roofers, flooring experts, and other contractors, advertise in these papers. You may be able to find exactly what you need, and if you know they’re advertising in a LGBTQ publication, there’s no fear of discrimination.

Go Online

There are a number of websites out there that provide the opportunity for LGBTQ people who live in the same city or neighborhood to connect with each other. These sites are the perfect places to ask for recommendations or to inquire about specific contractors. There’s nothing better than getting a recommendation or a review from someone who has used the contractor and was very happy with their services.

These three resources will usually result in a number of different contractor options for you. Of course, be sure to talk to the contractor yourself before hiring them so you can get a good sense of who they are and if they will be a good fit with your projects.

Gentrification and the LGBTQ Community

If you’ve looked at homes in a gay neighborhood or have lived in one before, you’ve likely heard the term “gentrification.” This term is used when a poor neighborhood is improved and maintained to the point that those who once could afford to live there are no longer able to. Gentrification is often connected to the LGBTQ community due to its history in areas such as the Castro and Boystown. Once, these were the only neighborhoods where LGBTQ people felt safe. Today, however, many find that they simply can’t afford to live in these historically gay areas.

The LGBTQ Community After WWII

Gentrification of GayborhoodsThe history of gentrification begins after World War II. Those who had fought in the war were quickly and efficiently kicked out of the military if the let it be known that they were gay. Others found themselves the victims of hate crimes and were forced to leave the neighborhoods they were living in. With often little money and nowhere else to go, they settled in poor, often run down parts of the city.

Over time, these brave LGBTQ individuals and families began changing the communities they were forced to live in. They repaired the homes, improved the landscaping, and in general made the neighborhoods nicer than they were before. Developers saw these up-and-coming neighborhoods and began building new apartment complexes and housing developments in them. The result is that after a few decades, suddenly these “gay ghettos” were affluent neighborhoods with rising property values.

The Benefits of Gentrification

On one hand, the LGBTQ community is able to take advantage of the benefits of gentrification. Many of these homeowners are able to sell their houses for much more than they paid for them. Many even make a profit after subtracting out the cost of maintenance. The neighborhoods such as Harlem, East Village, and West Village were once mostly LGBTQ communities, but today that’s no longer true because many of the gay or lesbian homeowners sold their properties for a nice sum. Those who continue to live in these areas now enjoy safe neighborhoods that are the envy of many.

The Downsides

Of course, there are some downsides to gentrification. Young LGBTQ couples and individuals may find it impossible to move into the gayborhood of their choice. Those who continue to live in a gentrified gay district are likely to find their property taxes have greatly increased. Their overall cost of living may have increased, too. Some may even find themselves forced to sell their beloved home because they can no longer afford it.

Whether you love it or hate it, gentrification is something that many LGBTQ people have to face at some point. Fortunately, there are great gay and lesbian real estate professionals here to help you buy a home in the gay neighborhood of your choice or sell a property you already own.

The History of the Gay Village

If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community, you may feel more comfortable living around other individuals, couples, and families who are also a part of the community. This often means moving into an area that has become known as a gay village, gayborhood, or gay ghetto. While you’re working with a gay or lesbian real estate professional to find your perfect home in one of these neighborhoods, you may find it odd that so many LGBTQ people decided to live together. Where did these gay neighborhoods come from?

The Gay Village Started in Germany

The History of the Gay VillageThe first neighborhood to be recognized as a gay village was in Berlin. The neighborhood of Schoneberg became popular with LGBTQ homeowners during the 1920s, several decades before the idea of the gay village even existed. Most LGBTQ people gathered in bars rather than certain neighborhoods.

In the U.S., the gay village didn’t become a recognized concept until the late 1960s and 70s. Thanks to the Stonewall Rebellion in 1965, the LGBTQ community became more recognized, leading to the appearance of more gay neighborhoods across the country. The shift from bar to community was a major transition for the LGBTQ community and helped to show that its members were just like anyone else—neighbors, co-workers, and families.

What Makes a Gay Village?

What exactly is a gay village, though? Is it simply a neighborhood where a certain percentage of homeowners or renters identify as LGBTQ? For some, that is enough of a definition. Most neighborhoods do have more identifying characteristics, though. Originally, gay ghettos were run-down areas that were fairly cheap. These parts of town were considered areas where “disreputable” people lived. Many LGBTQ people were forced to move to these areas due to threats of violence and intolerance in the more affluent parts of town.

Because many of these LGBTQ homeowners took care of their homes, many gay villages went through gentrification. Today, these older historic homes are often worth a lot of money. In Chelsea, New York, for example, home prices have dramatically increased since the area became a gay neighborhood in the 1990s. The same is true with areas such as Andersonville, Chicago; South End, Boston; and West Hollywood.

The Modern Gay Village

Fortunately for the LGBTQ community, there’s no longer as much antagonism as there once was. Today, while there is still some persecution towards LGBTQ individuals and families, it’s not as wide-spread, and fewer people are finding themselves run out of a neighborhood because of who they’re in love with. Because of this, there aren’t many new gay neighborhoods appearing. The gay village isn’t likely to vanish overnight, but there is, thankfully, less of a need for them.

Gayborhood Prices Are Increasing

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that housing costs in many gay villages are higher than average. Gay and lesbian real estate experts in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago can all tell you that the popular gayborhoods in these three cities are expensive. But just how expensive are they, and how have the prices changed? A survey done by real estate website Trulia and dating site OKCupid reveals that home value premiums jumped in just five years (between 2012 and 2017).

New York Prices Increased the most

Gayborhood Prices Are IncreasingThe survey looked at the average home value per square foot in the gayborhood and in the zip code overall in order to determine what percentage the value increase. For example, in New York in 2012, the gay neighborhood’s home value was, on average, 106% of the entire zip code’s average home value. By 2017, however, the gayborhood’s average home value was 162% of the home value in the rest of that area. That’s a fairly substantial increase in just five years.

In terms of cost per square foot, that means home values in the New York gay neighborhoods increased from $436/square foot in 2012 to $659/square foot in 2017. For those who purchased real estate in the area, the investment paid off. For those who are looking to move into New York’s gay neighborhoods, though, it’s going to be costlier.

Which Other Cities Saw Increases?

Only one other city’s gay neighborhoods increased by more than 50%. While most people would expect to see San Francisco or LA here, neither of those cities made the top ten. Instead, the city in the number two spot is New Orleans. The Louisiana city known for Mardi Gras saw gay neighborhood housing prices jump from $193/square foot to $290/square foot, an average increase of almost $100. Boston come in third with an overall jump from $361/square foot to $557/square foot, moving from 79% of the average zip code cost to 105%.

Some Gayborhood Home Values Declined

Some gayborhood home prices actually dropped, becoming closer to the average home cost in the zip code. In Miami, Florida, gay neighborhood values went from 73% of the zip code premium to 60%, though value per square foot still increased from $188 to $296 due to overall market increases. In San Francisco, the home value premium dropped from 17% more than the average to only 12% above average, bringing homes in the Castro district more in line with what you’d pay anywhere else in the city.

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Towns in Kansas?

Kansas isn’t known for being at the forefront of the battle for LGBTQ rights. Because of this, some people wonder if moving to the state is a good idea. If you reach out to a gay or lesbian real estate agent, though, you might be surprised at the number of places they will tell you are very welcoming and diverse. Kansas does have a lot to offer the LGBTQ community. If you’re uncertain where to make your new home, here are a few cities where you can start your search.

Kansas City

Are there LGBTQ Friendly Towns in KansasYou might start your search for a great LGBTQ community in Kansas City, the largest city in the state. It’s very diverse and welcoming. This large city has everything you’d expect from a major metro area, including a thriving downtown area, an arts district, and more. The city has been called one of the most underrated LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the U.S. In addition to a number of gay bars in the city, you’ll also find the LIKEME Lighthouse, a LGBTQ community center.

Topeka

The capital of the state, Topeka also features a few gay bars. In fact, these bars bring in people from all around the area. The Kansas Equality Wedding Expo was held here in 2015 and brought together many wedding vendors who support the LGBTQ community. Topeka Pride, held every year, is a week of fun events and activities.

Wichita

Wichita is another underrated city that is quite welcoming to LGBTQ individuals and families. The city is home to The Center, a LGBTQ community center and safe space for those in need. It’s found in the downtown district and is located next to Equality Kansas, a group that works for LGBTQ equality throughout the state. Wichita is a great city for those who want to live somewhere with many amenities and comforts yet still want to feel like they’re in a small community. Living in the suburbs gives you both.

Lawrence

The University of Kansas is located in Lawrence, making it something of a college town. This university is known for having the largest LGBTQ student population in the state, and that’s reflected in how welcoming the city is. The university has built a LGBTQ resource center that anyone in the community can make use of. Many of the local bars transform into gay bars on Wednesday, too.

Ready to move to Kansas? These are just a few of the welcoming places to live in the state.

Great LGBTQ Cities in Missouri

Missouri is often lumped in with the southern states, but it’s really more central. It’s a place where diversity is more welcome than you might think. If you’re a part of the LGBTQ community, there are a number of places in the state where you’ll find that you’re not just accepted, you’re celebrated. So, if a move to Missouri is in your future, grab a gay or lesbian real estate agent and look for properties in one of these great locations:

Kansas City

Great LGBTQ Cities in MissouriStraddling the border between Missouri and Kansas, Kansas City is known as being one of the most welcoming cities in both states. It’s even been called one of the best in the nation for its openness. Kansas City hosts an annual pride festival, has several LGBTQ support group and community centers, and more. If you’re looking for a large city to settle in, Kansas City should be on your list. Housing prices are even very fair here, especially if you live in the suburbs.

Columbia

Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, which means that it’s something of a college town. This centrally located city is home to many open-minded young people. The university itself offers a number of LGBT clubs and other services, plus they host many great art exhibits and theater performances throughout the year. Housing costs in Columbia are even more reasonable than Kansas City. If you find a place near the university and have a spare bedroom you can rent out to a college student, you can even make a little extra money.

Joplin

Joplin made news in 2011 when it was hit by a major tornado, and it has spent the past years rebuilding from that disaster. Everyone in the community, regardless of sexual orientation, pulled together to make this happen. Today, the city is still has that atmosphere to it. Everyone is friendly and welcoming here, making it a great city for LGBTQ individuals and couples. While it’s a good sized city, Joplin also has a bit of a small town feel to it, making it a good option for those who are looking for a quiet place to live.

Kirkwood

Finally, there’s Kirkwood. It’s technically classified as a suburb of St. Louis. It’s considered a fairly trendy city, but even so, housing costs aren’t outrageous here. If you have a job in St. Louis but don’t want to live in the city itself, Kirkwood is a good option.

California Panel Addresses State’s Youth Homelessness

One of the issues that California faces is that many young people, especially young LGBT people, face homelessness. According to information presented before a panel hosted by the chairs of the California Senate Human Services Committee and the Assembly Human Services Committee, about a third of all homeless young people in the country are in California. Conservative estimates put that number at 12,000 or more, and around 40 percent of these homeless youth identify as part of the LGBT community.

California Panel Addresses State’s Youth HomelessnessAs many gay and lesbian real estate agents can tell you, housing prices in parts of California are incredibly high. Many neighborhoods in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have housing prices that are much higher than the national average.

Of course, housing costs are only one thing that makes it difficult for those between 16 and 24 find and retain housing. Many young LGBT individuals are made homeless because they’re kicked out of their homes after coming out. Some of these people actually end up coming to California after losing their place to live in other states. Those who are moving from areas in the south or the Midwest, where the cost of living is much lower are often surprised at what it costs to rent even a very small apartment. They end up on the streets, unable to find work or a place to live.

The panel invited many of these young people and others who were once homeless to discuss the issues the state faces. Many believe that the state hasn’t dedicated sufficient resources to helping these individuals. With so many homeless people in the state, many see it as an issue that needs to be made more of a priority than it currently is.

The panel was held at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a place where many homeless people come every day for help. The center offers assistance in finding low-income housing, jobs, and other resources. The center often works with local real estate agents and others in the housing market to find homes for those in need.

Many nonprofits have worked with real estate owners and agents in California to create low-income housing to assist LGBT seniors with finding affordable living. This has resulted in many seniors being able to live in a comfortable setting. One solution to the housing crisis many young people are facing may be something similar.

What Can LGBT Community Centers Do for You?

When you’re considering a new neighborhood to move to, one thing you might look for is an LGBT community center. These centers often form the heart of the LGBT neighborhood and offer a wide variety of services to those in the city. However, there are some LGBT people who don’t really know what these centers have to offer. While each community center has its own unique programs that your gay or lesbian real estate professional may know more about, most do offer many of the same basic services. Here are some reasons why you may want to visit your local LGBT community center or learn more about the center near your new home.

Testing and Health Services

what-can-lgbt-community-centers-do-for-youMany community centers either provide HIV, Aids, and STD testing on-site or have contacts with a service that can provide these tests. Some centers provide these tests for free, while others have sliding scale fees that take your income into account. Many community centers also offer mental health and counseling services. This is especially important for LGBT youth, who often feel marginalized, bullied, and unloved.

Some community centers also offer assistance with smoking, alcohol abuse, and drug use. Many in the LGBT community fall into drugs or become alcoholic because they want to escape the hatred and bullying they experience on a daily basis. Even if you don’t need these resources, knowing they’re available can be useful if you meet someone who does.

Cultural Programs

Many LGBT community centers host art exhibits, theater performances, and other cultural programs. The type and size of these programs usually depend on how large of a space the center has. Some host an art gallery that displays work by members of the LGBT community. Others have a small theater space for plays and concerts. Some programs include a workshop where attendees actually get to make something or participate in a hands-on activity. Some have holiday events and offer a place to go for those who can no longer attend their family celebrations for whatever reason.

Awareness Events

The LGBT community center is often one of the driving forces behind local pride festivals. Some of the activities may take place at the community center if it’s large enough. If it’s not, center leadership may be involved in planning some of the festival activities. They may also sponsor other LGBT-related events throughout the year, including events designed to raise awareness of the LGBT community. Some even take part in political activities and push local, state, and federal leaders to be inclusive and pass legislation protecting the LGBT community.