The corner of Davie Street and Bute Street in Vancouver, B.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

The corner of Davie Street and Bute Street in Vancouver, B.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

‘Gaybourhoods’ are expanding, not disappearing: UBC study

Sociology professor Amin Ghaziani says as couples diversify, so does where they call home

Gay and lesbian spaces, commonly known as “gaybourhoods,” are expanding across cities, rather than disappearing, a new B.C. study says.

Gaybourhoods, such as Vancouver’s Davie Village, are nothing new. A common perception has been that major cities have just one neighbourhood where all gay people live.

READ MORE: Same-sex marriages rise, as gaybourhoods change in B.C.

But new research by University of British Columbia sociology professor Amin Ghaziani, released Thursday, shows that members of the LGBTQ community are diversifying where they live, choosing what he calls “cultural archipelagos” beyond the gaybourhood. Only 12 per cent of LGBTQ adults live in a gaybourhood, while 72 per cent have never.

Ghaziani used data from the 2010 U.S. census to track location patterns of lesbians, transgender people, same-sex couples with children, and LGBTQ people of color.

He found queer communities of colour have emerged in Chicago and the outer boroughs of New York. That’s because African-American people in same-sex relationships are more likely to live in areas where there are higher populations of other African-Americans, rather than other LGBTQ people, he found.

Rural areas draw more same-sex female couples than male couples, and female couples tend to live where the median housing price per square foot is lower, which Ghaziani attributed to a possible reflection of the gender pay gap.

The study focuses on the U.S., but the findings are similar to data released in the last Canadian census.

There were 73,000 same-sex couples in the country in 2016, an increase of more than half over the last decade.

Meanwhile, major cities that were historically popular for same-sex couples, such as Toronto and Montreal, saw a nearly five per cent dip in the same time period, while areas such as Victoria are seeing an increase.


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