Jonathan Higbee's picture

What's Your Instinct: Do Gayborhoods Hurt Local Communities?

In a new HuffPost Live interview, Rev. Irene Monroe gives her thoughts on a hot topic as of late: are gayborhoods (gentrification) detrimental to communities of color and the working class?

"When you talk about gayborhoods, you've got to also look at issues how people are being relocated, forcibly relocated," the reverend says. "When we take Greenwich Village, originally that was a black neighborhood that was gentrified and black folks had to move Uptown, and that's where we get Harlem. Harlem is now gentrified, and a particularly enclave in Harlem that creates a kind of tension already in a very tense community."

"I'd like to say the reason why there's homophobia in the black community is because of gentrification," Monroe adds, "but that would be a bit absurd. It just heightens it that much more."

The thing is, urban areas—especially New York—are in a constant state of flux. People come, people go, neighborhoods change. That's been New York's story since back when it was occupied by the Dutch as "New Amsterdam" until 1664, and that will be New York's future. To use Monroe's example, up until 1910 Harlem itself was only 10 percent African American. Prior, it was largely an affluent European-American neighborhood. But that changed as more and more African Americans moved in and more and more of the previous residents moved out. Change is the story of New York, Rev. Monroe. The story of any city, really. Blaming the gay community for a lack of stasis in the world and for shunning the unspoken boundaries of segregation and class lines to live where we please is not going to accomplish what you hope it will. And anyway, the direction that Manhattan and Western Brooklyn (not to mention most of San Francisco) are headed will ensure that only these seven people (the only folks on Forbe's 2014 list of billionaires who identify as LGBT) will be able to afford to make up a gayborhood in either borough. For those of us who bring in less than 10 figures a year, we should learn how to get along and co-exist within the ever-changing landscape. 

But who cares what I think? 

What do you think, Instincters? Are gayborhoods a scourge on society?




Gay people took Greenwich Village from the black community? When was that exactly? And if they relocated to Harlem, then who did they displace as that happened? The black community can't lay any considerable claim to Greenwich Village, and the black community was of negative value to Harlem. Harlem was once a beautiful place with beautiful architecture until it was turned into a complete ghetto. At least up until the 90s when it returned to something livable as new people moved there. This "Reverend" is a complete fool who is trying to re-write history to fit her bigoted views. 

Tradition means SLOW CHANGE ... Everything changes. Gay people don't push black people out of Harlem. The local prices do. And these prices are raised by the Harlem commerce itself. Harlem is known as a dangerous area. Isn't it good that it's changing then?! Change doesn't mean black people have to move out. Can't we all just life together and enjoy the place getting better???

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