It’s (Not) A Beautiful Day in the Gayborhood, Because of Gentrification

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How the Gayborhood Rises and Falls

+ The Guardian has a piece on LGBT neighborhoods as both agents of gentrification and victims of it. As LGBT people are being priced out of neighborhoods that they’ve traditionally found community in, a wider lens shows that this is part of the gentrification process that they themselves have participated in. It argues that while we usually imagine white gay men to be the LGBT community’s major gentrifiers, lesbians are actually more involved than you’d suspect in patterns of LGBT migration and residential patterns.

“Interestingly, this process isn’t necessarily started by gay men. According to sociologist Sharon Zukin, it’s lesbians who are the “canaries in the urban coal mine”. Women often form gentrification’s vanguard, after being displaced from areas that are no longer affordable on incomes relatively lower compared to men’s. This isn’t commonly remarked on because a lesbian presence tends to be less visible. Ghaziani explains: “Lesbians come first, but there are several reasons why people are not necessarily aware of this. Lesbians tend to plug into the existing institutions of an area – coffee shops, theatres, grocery stores. When gay men arrive, however, they tend to build new institutions – new restaurants, stores, bars – and property values start to rise. Straight people arrive last, lesbians are pushed out, and the process repeats.”

The piece also discusses how while LGBT people are culpable in gentrification, their reasons for moving into neighborhoods that end up gentrified are different than straight people’s — they tend to be motivated by a need to leave rural areas that they find hostile or unsafe, or find community, in addition to financial concerns.

Law & Order

+ Maintenance workers were called in to address critical repairs in a public housing project in Baltimore — but they also demanded sexual favors from the women who lived there. Now twenty women who were abused by the workers will receive $8 million as settlement in a class-action lawsuit.

+ Last year, Obama nominated openly gay Eric Fanning as secretary of the Army. Now Kansas senator Pat Roberts is putting his confirmation on hold. He says it’s in protest of Obama’s considering closing Guantanamo, but it also kind of seems like it might be the gay thing.


+ Did you watch the State of the Union? I wrote about it! Also, Vox has an explainer on the policies the President talked about.

+ Indiana has a slew of proposed bills that purport to protect LGBT people, but actually leave them out in the cold, including one that calls for the abolition of state-dispensed marriage licenses entirely. It doesn’t seem like these bills are getting much support, though; conservatives argue that they’re too supportive of LGBT people while LGBT activists observe that they seem both complicated and not helpful enough.

+ A proposed plan in San Francisco would support students with an incarcerated parent and facilitate communication between student and parent.

Under the new resolution, proposed by Commissioner Shamann Walton and the vice president of the city’s board of education, Matt Haney, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) would facilitate communication between students and their parents. A school administrator would also contribute to the San Francisco County Jail’s parental education program, which helps adults maintain close ties to their kids and prepares them for parenting upon their release.

+ In the latest horrible strategy of cis people to keep trans people from just using the bathroom, Virginia lawmaker Mark Cole wants to hand out fines to trans people at the bathroom door. He’s proposed bills (two of them, for some reason?) that would fine both adults and minors for using a bathroom that doesn’t match their birth certificate and/or genitals.

+ The armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is costing county taxpayers about $70,000 a day between paid leave for employees and teachers of the facilities that have had to be closed, the police and security paid to deal with the militia, and the closing of the refuge itself. County judge Steve Grasty has said he’ll “send Bundy the bill” for the expenses, but doesn’t expect it will be paid. According to Gawker, there may be trouble in paradise inside the occupation.

+ Spokane, Washington ahs become the first city in the US to guarantee paid sick leave.

+ New York Governor Cuomo has called for legislation that would provide paid family leave — up to 12 weeks for a new child or serious illness.

+ At RHReality Check, Tina Vasquez wrote about the US’s disconnect between talking about immigration reform while continuing to raid and deport people.

U.S. citizens who identify as “liberal” or “progressive” have long been confused by undocumented activists’ approach to Democratic politicians they deem to be on the side of immigrants. Obama, for example, is responsible for “deferred action,” has spoken out in support of the DREAM Act, and has promised comprehensive immigration reform. Why, then, do undocumented activists call him “Deporter in Chief” and “heckle” him? Because of his record deporting more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history.


+ An active NYPD officer has been noticed posting lots of racist and reactionary memes on social media.

Following the usual script, a spokesperson for the NYPD responded to questions from Gothamist by pointing toward the department’s policy on social media. It’s a policy that was updated in 2013 — after multiple NYPD officers were caught referring to New Yorkers of color as “animals” and “savages” — and one that essentially urges New York’s cops not to treat social media like a depository for all the awful ideas they know they shouldn’t say.

+ In Chicago, Black police officers fear for their kids’ lives at the hands of police while also facing a hostile and racist environment within the police force.

[former St. Louis Police Department officer Reddit Hudson] said that although most of the public believes cops are generally good, a significant number of them regularly abuse their authority. “On any given day, in any police department in the nation, 15 percent of officers will do the right thing no matter what is happening. Fifteen percent of officers will abuse their authority at every opportunity. The remaining 70 percent could go either way depending on whom they are working with,” Hudson wrote… Richard Wooten, a retired officer who served 23 years on the Chicago PD…told The Monitor many of their policies are out of date and also complained that Black and white officers were disciplined differently.
“You have an African-American sergeant [Edward Howard Jr.] who slaps a kid that’s handcuffed for spitting in his face and he immediately got stripped of his powers and he got charged, convicted, and terminated all within a year’s time.”

+ CNN has a new story detailing the civil rights abuses at Homan Square, the Chicago police “black site,” where former detainees say brutal interrogation was routine, and they were denied access to phones or lawyers.

Wright says he was zip-tied to a bench in an overheated room on a summer day and denied access to an attorney. He was charged with selling a controlled substance and placed on house arrest, he told CNN. It would be four months before a judge ruled he was not guilty of the crime he was adamant he never committed.

Flint Water Crisis

+ Earlier in this column we reported on the ongoing crisis in Flint, where residents have been forced to use a toxic water supply for the past year. It’s resulted in myriad health problems throughout the community, including high levels of lead poisoning in children, which will cause lifelong and irreversible effects. A state of emergency had already been declared, and now Governor Snyder is calling in the National Guard to help deal with the problem, namely to help with distributing clean water, new filters, and lead testing kits. Republican Governor Snyder has been roundly criticized for what seems an indefensibly slow response to the problem, despite the fact that Flint residents began reporting problems only a month into the switch to the toxic water supply:

Government officials did not start handing out bottled water until several days after the governor first declared a state of emergency. And that announcement itself came several weeks after Flint officials had already declared a state of emergency on the city level.
Email records suggest that some members of Snyder’s administration have been aware of the issues with the water for months, though the governor says he first became aware of the lead poisoning risk in October. Research from the ACLU alleges that administration officials may have simply ignored the mounting evidence about the water contamination. The director of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality stepped down last week.

National Guard in Flint (WEYI/Mike Horne)

National Guard in Flint (WEYI/Mike Horne)

Unbelievably, Flint is still billing residents for their poisoned, undrinkable water, even sending overdue notices and threatening to cut off the water supply for residents who haven’t paid.

Also in that story from Slate is the report that a break-in was reported in the office in City Hall where documents related to the water crisis are kept — more specifically, it was reported just after the federal government announced it would be investigating whether there was any actual criminal activity involved in the handling of the water crisis. What a coincidence!

Speaking of coincidences, Flint is ALSO dealing with an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, a type of pneumonia — “Genesee County, which includes Flint, had 87 cases of Legionnaires’ from June 2014 to November 2015.” While officials are claiming they can’t definitively link the illnesses to the water supply, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that about half the Legionnaire’s cases are connected to the water crisis. So far there have been 10 deaths from Legionnaire’s.

Presidential Race

+ Jezebel has a rundown on how the Clinton and Sanders campaigns appear to finally be going after each other directly, with the Clinton campaign making some misleading assertions about Sanders’ stance on healthcare and the Sanders campaign responding back. Tweets! Press releases! It’s all really happening!

+ It seems that Ted Cruz’s first Senate run was financed in part by a large loan from the company where his wife works, and it was not disclosed in campaign finance reports!

Grab Bag

+ The LA Times has an in-depth look at Roy Moore, total dillweed and Alabama Chief Justice who is still trying valiantly to block the SCOTUS same-sex marriage ruling in his state.

+ The mayor of Detroit has called for an inspection of Detroit public schools after touring them.

+ A new survey talked to 200+ women with over 10 years experience in tech, and found that 60% reported unwanted sexual advances, and 84% had been told they were “too aggressive”.

+ As of November 1, employees of the Norwegian Cruise Line were informed they would no longer have access to emergency contraception unless they had been sexually assaulted.

+ A new study on race in medicine found that “although the doctors showed no difference in verbal communication between patients, there were “fewer positive, rapport-building nonverbal cues when speaking with black patients.”

+ A profile of the political career of Kshama Sawant, the first socialist elected in Seattle in a century.

Kshama Sawant

Kshama Sawant

+ The German government has created an app, Ankommen, to help Syrian refugees adjust to Germany.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Is there a way to make it harder for Mark Cole to use bathroom facilities? Like some how label all bathrooms mixed use in the buildings he may work in? Maybe piss him off that way.

    • Smiles, yes, but other things too – like standing nearby a patient, light friendly touches, and “open body language,” which are gestures and postures that people tend to interpret as welcoming and open as opposed to closed-off.

  2. I felt like I’d read that exact line about lesbians as canaries in the coal mine before and yes, it’s quoted in every other article about the gaybourhood, at least as far back as 2010. Not to take away from this Guardian piece (I appreciated the focus on UK neighbourhoods! I remember that being reaaaally hard to find info on when I was researching my own piece) but just to mention that this study is often fairly uncritically engaged with in articles about queer gentrification, such that it becomes reduced to “lesbians are the REAL problem.” I haven’t read the study itself so couldn’t tell you if there’s anything else off about the way it’s popular presented, but it’s elaborated on a bit more here (not by the author though):

  3. Can somebody explain to me how that shit from Mark Cole is gonna work? I don’t know, Virginia will install some kind of bathroom tollbooth and ask you your birth certificate or make you take some kind of mandatory public genitalia examination before going to the bathroom?

    I’m fed up with these people.

    Please, Mark Cole, could you be so kind and make a favor to humanity? Please, put a bullet through your head because, really, you’re just taking up space and air that other people may use.

  4. Dill weed is a fine, upstanding herb dedicated to making things taste better for everybody, however they identify. Please don’t smear an innocent plant wth Roy Moore’s name!

    A great round up, as always.

  5. Super-belatedly, Spokane wasn’t the first US city to guarantee sick leave, just the first one this year. (YAY for them, though, I lived in Spokane for a while & still have family there, so their politics fascinate me.)

    Related, though, Seattle’s sick leave is part of why Councilmember Sawant won in 2013. She unseated former Councilmember Conlin, & a large part of that campaign was that he was the lone vote against sick leave in 2011.

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