Tuesdays will occasionally be given over to a guest columnist. This week, please welcome a bitter queen.
Have you heard? Gayboorhoods are becoming extinct. So sayeth Matt Katz tosday in Obit mag, a self identified straight man who has spent enough time among that mythic fairy land, "where gay people lived and hung out, somehow fulfilling stereotypes while simultaneously stimulating social justice" (via hand jobs?) to tell us of the local color that once flourished there and to lament their passing.
Thank God we have intrepid Margaret Meads like Katz -- who even once let a gay squeeze his bicep at the gym (no homo!) -- to wax nostalgic about the good old days of double dutch jumping trannies on the corner. You see, children, the gayborhood was a wonderful, rainbow-hued place of escape "where cleverness, artistry and merriment is applauded." Huzzah! You know, I still can't go out in the Castro without some Oscar Wide wannabe vomiting bon mots onto my chinchilla gilette to the applause of onlookers.
But seriously, even though Katz's commentary on the changing face of urban gay life has as much nuance as a college freshman's five paragraph essay (to wit: "The demise of the gayborhood indicates that America is more mixed - ethnically, economically, sexually -- than ever before."), his overall thesis is true, to some degree. Yes, there is greater social acceptance of homosexuality and thus less need for the self preservation of a ghetto. Yes, the Internet is a factor, at least in the demise of bar culture -- even though bars continue to be perhaps the only reason anyone still frequent gayborhoods (see the Katz's final 'graph). And yes, the Castro is a Pottery Barn-upholstered shell of its former hedonistic self blah blah blah.
But to applaud gayborhoods as the superficial pleasure domes of memory where "people don’t pretend that the real world is anything all that important" is to wholly ignore their historical importance as sites of political organizing and resistance (that's "stimulating social justice"). Oh, and speaking of queer political activism, there's that other factor that shook up the gayborhood. You know, AIDS. But don't go looking for any mention of it in Katz's obit. Why would he want to talk about an unattractive thing like that? Get Lil Miss Ally another Long Island Iced Tea. I'm going back to dusting my Erte lamps.
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