Americas Oldest Gay Neighborhood Is Getting Straighter

Boystown is arguably the most famous gay neighborhood in the world.

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.

Each day it becomes more apparent that the gayborhood where so many of us spent time and found who we really are — myself included — may be becoming a place not meant for the LGBTQ community anymore. And many residents are wondering: Well, then who?

During my last month living in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles and launching INTO, I spent time with Eater visiting the locals of Boystown to understand why this famous area is becoming less and less gay every day.

And what the future holds.


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2 Responses to Americas Oldest Gay Neighborhood Is Getting Straighter

  1. Bob Newberry says:

    My how Boystown has changed since I use to go there. Some good and some bad. To commercial now. But there is the best Taco stand there on Halsted street next to Little Jims Bar.

  2. Brad says:

    I remember walking around the block at Little Jim’s bar to be picked up for a sex encounter. Not Sure if that still happens. But I must try one of those tacos.

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