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Even ‘gayborhoods’ are still home to subtle discrimination

According to a study, even in “gayborhoods” that has straight residents who claimed to support gay rights, discrimination still happens.

Where the gays are, are not necessarily safe havens.

There’s Castro Street in San Francisco, California. There’s Malate area in the City of Manila, Philippines. And then there’s Oxford Street in Sydney, Australia. These places are supposed to be safe areas for gay – and even other members of the LGBTQI community, as a whole. But according to a study, even in “gayborhoods” that has straight residents who claimed to support gay rights, discrimination still happens.

According to Adriana Brodyn and Amin Ghaziani in “Performative Progressiveness: Accounting for New Forms of Inequality in the Gayborhood, City & Community”, straight people living in “gayborhoods” say they support gay rights in theory, but many interact with their gay and lesbian neighbors on the street in ways that contradict those sentiments.

According to Ghaziani, prejudice and discrimination continue to exist, though “it’s just more subtle and difficult to detect.”

For this study, 53 straight people who live in two Chicago gayborhoods, Boystown and Andersonville, were interviewed. It was found that majority of residents said they supported gay people. However, their more progressive attitudes were not aligned with their actions. For instance, many said they don’t care if people are gay or straight; but they also said they don’t like gay people who are “in your face.”

When asked if they had done anything to show their support of gay rights, such as marching in the pride parade, donating to an LGBTQI organization, or writing a letter in support of marriage equality to a politician, the majority of the respondents admitted that they had not.

Many of the respondents also did not see gayborhoods as safe spaces for LGBTQI people; but that these could be places of “reverse discrimination” where gay people who challenged them as “segregationist” and “hetero-phobic.” For instance, they see gay spaces as “trendy commodities” they should also access, and not as safe spaces for sexual minorities.

In the end, the researchers hoped that these results motivate people against becoming politically complacent or apathetic, and be “motivate ourselves to be aware of this subtle form of prejudice or else it will just continue to perpetuate.”

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