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The next ten years

During a panel discussion for the play 8, an audience member asked, “What will the LGBT community look like in ten years?” I thought what a fabulous question.

As we look ahead to the new Obama administration and beyond, it is clear that the culture of the LGBT community will fundamentally change.

Some of the change our community will experience will be received positively, while other changes will be harder to swallow. There are already signs of what is to come.

The concept of the “gayborhood” is beginning to wane. While all of us over 40 have experienced the wonders of shopping, dining and socializing in almost exclusively gay neighborhoods, those under 40 are used to more diverse, progressive neighborhoods.

West Hollywood, Chelsea, Chicago’s Boystown, Boston’s South End, as well as Hillcrest, all represent what used to be considered gay neighborhoods. Take a look around and you will see that there are more strollers and young professionals taking over these neighborhoods. The neighborhoods have a gay sensibility, but the residents are becoming increasingly diverse; straight, gay, progressive, young and old.

As LGBT people have become more accepted by the broader community, our self-imposed “ghettoization” has become less and less. We live throughout San Diego, in every community. From Escondido to Chula Vista to Alpine, we are there.

In ten years we will have neighborhoods with lots of LGBT people versus an old fashioned “gayborhood.” To some LGBT people this is progress; to other LGBT people it is loss. A loss of “gay” culture.

It is already evident in how the twenty somethings socialize. They are just as likely to go out with their straight girlfriend downtown as they are to go to Urban Mo’s.

When they are at Rich’s, the twenty somethings may have a straight guy friend and his girl along with them. I hate this word but it is evident; assimilation.

Our community is slowly being assimilated into the broader culture; when that happens the assimilating community loses some of what makes them different. Broadway show queens will just hang out with other Broadway aficionados. Same goes for opera queens.

No more LGBT oriented gyms. “Hell, I work out with my straight buddy or girlfriend from work.” Provincetown, Fire Island and Palm Springs will no longer be LGBT havens. They will simply become places where trendy and fabulous people hangout; regardless of sexual orientation.

There will still be LGBT Pride parades but they will be like the Irish American, Veterans Day and other parades celebrating particular communities.

All of this LGBT cultural change will happen because we will have marriages just like our straight counterparts. Marriages recognized by the federal government. We will talk about our husbands and wives, thereby educating our straight counterparts about our relationships. Our lives will be an integral part of the new normal.

Will we still be able to be discriminated against in the workplace? That is an open question. The current strategy is inclusive legislation that will prohibit discrimination against LGB and T people.

The question is whether in the next ten years we will be able to convince Congress to pass anti-discrimination legislation that protects transgender Americans. Probably not.

Our wonderful president has already shown leadership on the issue, so we can hope that the transgender equality struggle is the shortest in the history of civil rights equality.

Will there be an LGBT Center, a Human Rights Campaign? Yes. There will likely be much work to do for transgender equality that the LGBT Center and the Human Rights Campaign will continue to do on a national and local level.

In addition, enforcement of existing laws will be a focus of these organizations because just because a positive LGBT law exists does not mean it is followed.

The next ten years will be a sea of cultural change for the LGBT community.

Are you ready?



San Diego LGBT Weekly


Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=31627

Posted by on Nov 29, 2012. Filed under Editorial, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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