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October 30, 2007

Gays and Lesbians Going Mainstream

Today’s New York Times reports that gay enclaves in cities like San Francisco are melting away as gay and lesbian couples increasingly take up residence in more integrated middle class neighborhoods. The money quote:

These are wrenching times for San Francisco’s historic gay village, with population shifts, booming development, and a waning sense of belonging that is also being felt in gay enclaves across the nation, from Key West, Fla., to West Hollywood, as they struggle to maintain cultural relevance in the face of gentrification.

There has been a notable shift of gravity from the Castro, with young gay men and lesbians fanning out into less-expensive neighborhoods like Mission Dolores and the Outer Sunset, and farther away to Marin and Alameda Counties, “mirroring national trends where you are seeing same-sex couples becoming less urban, even as the population become slightly more urban,” said Gary J. Gates, a demographer and senior research fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.

At the same time, cities not widely considered gay meccas have seen a sharp increase in same-sex couples. Among them: Fort Worth; El Paso; Albuquerque; Louisville, Ky.; and Virginia Beach, according to census figures and extrapolations by Dr. Gates for The New York Times. “Twenty years ago, if you were gay and lived in rural Kansas, you went to San Francisco or New York,” he said. “Now you can just go to Kansas City.”

I don’t doubt that this trend is experienced by gays and lesbians as something disconcerting, even, perhaps, traumatic. It is, after all, the erosion of a community. But I think it underscores the reality that communities are formed out of necessity—whether the need is food and shelter, or a safe harbor from bigotry and oppression. So this trend provides at least a little hope that American culture is growing up.

Posted by stevemack at 06:37 AM | Comments (48) | TrackBack

October 18, 2007

78 Dead in Pakistan

From CNN:

At Least 78 die in blasts near Bhutto's convey

Two explosions near the motorcade of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto killed at least 78 people, officials say. Bhutto, who was on her way home after years of self-imposed exile, was not reported hurt. "There are dead bodies everywhere," said CNN's Dan Rivers at the scene.

Posted by stevemack at 01:34 PM | Comments (575) | TrackBack

"A Whitman for our Time."
- Jerome Loving,
"Stephen John Mack's The Pragmatic Whitman: Reimagining American Democracy, [is] The most thoroughly informed philosophical reading of Whitman to appear in decades. Mack develops the premise . . . That Whitman shares with John Dewey a vision of democracy as a 'civic religion' in America, a profoundly secularist and progressive perspective.

- M. Jimmie Killingsworth, Texas A & M University
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