Documentary on Chicago’s Boystown Dissects How Gentrification Has Ruined their Gayborhood

Popular foodie website Eater has produced its first ever documentary, and shockingly enough it's more than about food and drink.

The 23 minute piece, which went live on their official website today, discusses how gentrification and other factors has negatively impacted Chicago's Boystown.

The website wrote this about the purpose of this documentary:

Established in the mid-20th century on the North Side of Chicago, it has long been an area LGBTQ people could call home, where they could meet others like them and grab a bite to eat in a place where they’d expect to be welcomed. It is the first government-designated gayborhood in the United States, and the Pride Parade attracts over 1 million people annually to its streets.

However, as this community continues to make great strides toward full equality in the United States — even under the Trump administration — the future for this neighborhood that was always a beacon of gay hope may be losing is sparkle. Rent prices are currently skyrocketing as more non-LGBTQ people move into the area to raise families; famous LGBTQ-owned bars and restaurants have begun closing to make way for straight-run establishments; and social services for those in need in the area have begun to disappear.

Take a look at the documentary here.  Do you agree with their assessment on where Boystown is now?

7 thoughts on “Documentary on Chicago’s Boystown Dissects How Gentrification Has Ruined their Gayborhood”

  1. Why the constant need to

    Why the constant need to insert anti-Trump propaganda in ALL articles?  Seriously, you guys come off as desperate and pathetic.  Speaking as a gay man who does NOT feel oppressed/victimized/marginalized etc, that type of sniping might be great at a cocktail party full of 60-something queens who don't have the spine to face reality, but personally I'd prefer to leave political op/eds out of non-related articles.

  2. I agree w Buggy’s comment…

    I agree w Buggy's comment… The increase in CRIME definitely needs to be mentioned, and addressed, ASAP!

  3. As a National Lecturer

    As a National Lecturer/Advocate on LGBTQ Civil Rights and Equality that lives in Boystown, I agree that things have changed over the last 14 years I have been here.  Many factors are in play here and I believe this will always be an LGBTQ area…things evolve.  You missed a HUGE opportunity while on Halsted with the rainbow pylons not to mention The Legacy Walk and the plaques on those structures.  That was disappointing.

  4. It happened here in Silver

    It happened here in Silver Lake (east of Hollywood). I lived right in the middle of the mecca. Gentrification has ruined my life, really.  I am stuck here due to rent control. All gay places gutted and  turned into stupid coffee shops for trust fund hipsters and yuppies. ENDLESS baby strollers. Everyone is straight. And white. And wealthy. Everyone from the REAL Silver Lake was thrown out or left in disgust. It changed everything for me.  In West Hollywood, there are far more Barbie girls than gay people now. Tiny dresses, tits out, drunk, stupid. Gay guys don't even mingle with each other anymore. They either stay home and go on sex apps  or hang out with these dumb chicks all night. Sad. Very sad. We were such a great culture. 

  5. I spent from 2007-2013 then

    I spent from 2007-2013 then again in 2015 in Boystown.  I fell in love with the area !   For the first time in my life i felt "at home".  I could walk down the street holding my bf's hand, or bf  de jour after he and I broke up   -).  Sitting outside at Roscoe's one sunny afternoon the first week I moved there (I moved there IML weekend !) , enjoying a pitcher of the pick of the day and snacking on some food and and the passing eye candy I thought , "wow, this is the life !".   My years spent there were wonderful but I did start to witness more and more baby strollers on the sidewalks, rents going up, restaurants and bars closing, very sad. It is sad that the LGBTQ community took this run down crime filled neighborhood and made it into a thriving, beautiful place and now it is slowly being taken away from them.  I know this happens in a lot of areas but it is just so sad that it is happening here.  I do not see the straight people living in an area called Boystown so I would not doubt they will be petitioning the city to change the name at some point.  Don't get me wrong, there is still ALOT of gay action there, Sidetrack, Roscoe's, Scarlet, Replay, Charlie's, Hydrate DS Tequila's and more places but most of the gays have to travel into the neighborhood now to have their fun.  Andersonville is now a big gay area and a lot of development has happened there as other areas further north and rent is cheaper there, but I will always cherish my years I spent in "Boystown".  It was truly the best years of my life and I made so many life long friends, my life will never be the same although I am back in my hometown and very happily married.  At least I have these memories to hold on to.


  6. I am a Sidetrack alum. I came

    I am a Sidetrack alum. I came out in Boystown in 1995. I have seen the neighborhood change, businesses come and go. The one constant thing about the neighborhood is it’s gay DNA. We welcome everyone to partake and have a great time. Respect the gayborhood, remember that it is a gay space. You are there because we want you to be.

  7. I lived in the heart of Boys

    I lived in the heart of Boys Town for 23 years. The neighborhood changed.

    There's one thing they do not talk about: Crime. And it should be addressed.


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