Chicago’s Boystown Is No More

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Despite The Majority Wanting To Keep Chicago’s Gayborhood Name The Same, Boystown Gets A Name Change


Since the ‘70s, Chicago’s 6th Community District, Lakeview, has been labeled Boystown due to it being the place most common for LGBTQ persons to work, live, and play. In July, Chicago business leaders in the gayborhood reached out to the community to hear their opinion on changing the name of the neighborhood to be more inclusive. Today, the local Chamber of Commerce revealed that Boystown is indeed getting a shakeup.


According to The Chicago Tribune, Boystown will now be known as Northalsted (a play on North Halsted {Street, where most of the gay bars and restaurants reside]). The news comes after the community leaders surveyed almost eight-thousand community members. Despite a majority of fifty-eight-percent wanting to keep Boystown the same, a twenty-percent minority believe the title made women, transgender persons, and gender-nonconforming persons unwelcomed in the area. Northalsted Business Alliance spokesperson, Jen Gordon, stated that even if a small percentage of people felt uncomfortable with the name that they would indeed change it. That minority got their wish. Signs that advertise Boystown as its now former name will be removed in favor for the new title.


The petition for the classic gayborhood name to be changed received nationwide attention after socialites, protestors, and city icons like Shea Coulee brought attention to the power structure in Boystown that seemingly makes it harder for persons of color and transgender persons to be successful in the neighborhood hierarchy that favors white cisgender men.


At this point, Chicagoans are used to changing titles of their city staples. The White Sox stadium name has been changed, the largest skyscraper’s name was bought out, and retail store Macys replaced Marshalls on State Street in their luxurious downtown shopping area. While anyone can change the name, some of the residents surely won’t abide by the addressing it as such.


Do you think the community leaders in Boyst…Northalsted were in the right to change the name of an iconic gayborhood?


Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.

H/T: Chicago Tribune

What do you think?