Whether you're just a casual fan of the gay hedonist character of the Castro, or a vehement homo-separatist, this news is likely to cause some exclamation marks to get thrown around on Facebook feeds today: A new study out of the University of British Columbia finds definitively that the Castro, like other traditionally lesbian and gay enclaves around the country, is becoming less gay.
Though all of the figures he cites are not available online (he'd prefer you buy his book), sociologist Amin Ghaziani compared U.S. Census data from 2000 and 2010 pertaining to same-sex couples in the "gayborhoods" of the Castro, Chicago's Boystown, New York's Greenwich Village (which hasn't really been gay since the 80s), Atlanta's Midtown, and others and found that the gay-couple population had dropped across all these place by 8 percent, while the lesbian population had dropped by 13 percent, as UBC News reports.
This is hardly news to anyone in real estate, or anyone who lives in these places, and it's been a popular refrain about gay people that they come in to sometimes downtrodden areas, gentrify them, and raise property values significantly. Then everyone else wants to move in, and things change.
Ghaziani points to the mainstreaming of gay people, and the increased number of gay couples raising children who might desire to be in neighborhoods that have good schools. His most interesting finding may be that there are multiple "unexpected clusters" of same-sex parents around desirable schools in traditionally straight neighborhoods, and that you can now find same-sex households in a record 93 percent of U.S. counties.
Just to play devil's advocate: Ghaziani's study, like many others pertaining to the gay demographic in the U.S., is limited by its data source. Since the U.S. Census still doesn't ask the gay question, sociologist and demographers are left to intuit the locations of gay people by identifying same-sex households, basically couples. Single gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have still not been counted in a national census though they were counted recently in the first large-scale federal survey ever to ask the question, conducted by the Census Bureau for the Centers for Disease Control, using a sample of 33,500 adults across the country. So, one could argue that while couples may be moving out of traditional gay neighborhoods, plenty of gay singles may be moving in to replace them.
But, as most neighborhood residents will tell you, there are more strollers than ever in the Castro being pushed by opposite-sex parents, typically more briskly as they pass the sex-toy shops.
Below, the video that goes with Ghaziani's study, in promotion of the published book.