The Last Days of Folsom?

June 17, 2012
The Last Days of Folsom?

Folsom Street East returns to New York today with it's mix of leather, street fair, and daddies galore, but rumblings of residents complaining about the event may make this year it's last. The largest outdoor fetish street festival on the eastern coast, is up against the new condos on W. 28th that don't want that kind of debauchery on their door step (even though they moved to the neighborhood knowing full well what it was). Joe. My. God. has a great write up of the current situation and sums it up best: "It's the oldest story in Manhattan. A formerly shitty area full of gay clubs, titty bars, and danger suddenly becomes posh. And out goes the nightlife."

It's a really fun event though, and I'd say pretty mild given the subject matter. Mostly it's a block party where you can booze and cruise all the hot daddies and check out some interesting leather vendors. MISTER will be there hanging out and giving away some swag, so be sure to keep an eye out for the guys and say hello!

What's your take on the age old story of gays cleaning up run down neighborhoods and increasing the property value only to be pushed out years later by the straights?

Tags: Leather, NYC, Folsom East, Folsom, Gentrification, Fetish
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
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Comments

To answer your question at the end of your piece -- I doubt there are any neighborhoods where gay people came in, cleaned up the area, and then got pushed out. Boston's South End, the area east of 14th Street in Washington, DC. Gays came in, cleaned things up and ... stayed. So I think the premise of your question is wrong.

What's your take on gays coming into a poor neighborhood, forcing property values up, and forcing out lower income people? Ahem. Yes, the gays aren't the real victims. Worst case, they make a mint when they sell their homes in their newly gentrified neighborhoods. I shed no tears.

As for the street fair, look, neighborhoods change over time and new people come in. That's the story not only of New York but almost everywhere. Do the Folsom crowd own the neighborhood because someone else set up a fair there years ago? Should every neighborhood be frozen in time? Or should we expect things will change and morph and evolve and we'll figure it out?

Capacity for self-victimization is astounding. Let's just live our lives and not make everything about a slight or a war.

WOW ! life's a BITCH - with thename ***ny*

.....Well I can and have seen both sides of this coinage so to speak...but I must say that BRINYK spells it clear and makes a few valid points....like when "WE" go in....someone goes out...right?....so does this all come down to classism?....I dunno...pass the cock n' balls please.....B

Check out Clybourne Park. It's funny and smart, doesn't hold any punches, and does a good job framing your argument so you can see from several angles, including how race and money can/still does drive change in city neighborhoods. (Haven't seen it on BWay yet, but it was great at Playwrights Horizons.)

Thanks, brinyk, for a reasoned approach and perspective to this situation.

Amen

I would also like to point out that gay ghettos are becoming a thing of the past. As the acceptance level has gone up, I find that most neighborhoods have become very blended now. So brnyk made some very poignant observations. I guess you have to chalk it up to progress.

brinyk should understand that we are being pushed out of every one of our neighborhoods right now. The Castro is straight baby carriage central. Gay people improving neighborhoods and then being priced out is a constant tale these days.

The Castro IS a straight babycarriage..it's also a Gay BabyCarriage. We want to be 'included' in the straight world (i.e,. marriage, equal rights etc.). With those things comes the stuff we didn't think about - the straights MAY just want to be part of our world. We have to understand that it's not a one-sided situation. We asked for it..and we got it. ALL of it.

we also have to get used to gay families who don't want to raise kids in areas of our world. it's indeed something which will test how inclusive that world can be.

BUT we want equality without assimilation or that, special rights haha! Pardon the sarcasm. However, gays need to realize assimilation and acceptance go hand in hand.

Brinyk has it right. Can't believe you'd ask that question without thinking of the lower income people that generally get shoved out because of gays gentrifying a neighborhood. how elitist!

Amen.

Huckerin:
The "Castro" had a hand in this change in its population. I lived there from '74 until 2002. One of the things that happened was the our generation, the one that passed away from AIDS, left a gap in the community, so that the younger people coming in didn't have our sense of history, and therefore had no loyalty to the Castro. Besides which, even though I'm now in Connecticut, I have plenty of buddies and friends who still live there, and they tell me (besides my seeing it for myself when I visit) that the younger crowd no longer sees the need to "ghetto-ize" themselves and are moving elsewhere. And I've seen articles in the BAR (the local newspaper for those of you elsewhere) to that effect, as well as noticing the lack of cohesion among the younger gays in contrast to the older gays. If someone gives up their place and straights move in (usually because a "gay" neighborhood is likely to be a low crime neighborhood, and we don't have street fights or shootings as happened in other neighborhoods mostly in the 80s - like the Western Addition, where I lived for a while ) - then why is that being 'pushed out.'? Perhaps I'm missing stuff, but high rents were a fact of life, and were worse around 1998, when the bloody idiotic 'South Park' (read: tech) culture took over the city and priced EVERYone out of their homes: old spanish people who had lived in their apartments for 50 years were being forced out. I was one of the people protesting that damned period of time where it was all about greed and wealth.
And gays have pushed PLENTY of people out of their homes. So have straights. Look at the Haight, around Fillmore, where I lived from 74-79. It used to be COMPLETELY black-owned and black residents. My barber, Aquarius barbershop, whose owner is Black, tells me that he's now the ONLY black-owned business in the neighborhood. It was a Black neighborhood until the late 90s, when I saw it suddenly become yuppie/elite establishments, pricing out the Black residents. In fact, the Black population of San Francisco has dropped from 16% to around 11% (there was an article in the SF Chronicle about the exodus of Black from the city. So, to point to gays as persecuted is throwing facts around that just don't match up.

Far West Chelsea, home of the Folsom East festival, has seen an influx of yuppies due to numerous newly built luxury apartment buildings and the recent completion of the High Line project. Complaints about Folsom East are being made because there are now residents in an area that once only consisted of old warehouses and parking garages. It wouldn’t matter if the residents were gay or straight; the complaints would come either way. No one wants a raunchy festival (no matter how tame or innocuous it may be) outside their expensive new apartment.

The eastern fringe of Chelsea (6th and 7th Avenues) is becoming straight. This isn’t because gays are being pushed out of the neighborhood, but rather because they choose to live in different areas (6th Ave Chelsea or 9th Ave HK? I’d pick the latter!). Yes, gay-owned businesses are being supplanted by straight-owned ones, but those straight-owned businesses are big-box retailers and chain restaurants. Unfortunately those are the only businesses that can afford the sky-high rents that the Chelsea retail spaces now command. The gay-owned businesses that remain along the strip are either wildly successful/overpriced or were fortunate enough to score cheap, long-term leases before the real estate boom and bust.

If a person cannot adapt to demographic and social changes, then they're going to be miserable.

I always find these conversations fascinating. Fact is: neighborhoods and social patterns/norms in neighborhoods change - all the time. In NYC they change/turn over even more readily than in many others. My family moved to Chelsea in 1981 - it was primarily lower-income working class hispanic interspersed with artists. In short: change is inevitable - no point in crying/whining about it. Move the venue.

Neighborhoods change but certain ones like Chelsea and the Village (and the Castro in San Francisco and DuPont Circle in DC) are of specific significance to the history of the gay rights movement and absolutely should have efforts made to preserve and perpetuate that significance. It is a crying shame how so many people have no idea what went into being able to be gay and walk down a street or go into an establishment without fear of having the crap beat out of you with no one coming to your aid. It saddens me whenever I'm in San Francisco and I encounter gay men who have lived there for some time but don't know who Harvey Milk or George Moscone were. And it gets my boxers in a bunch when so-called gay community groups are so mired in being politically correct that they don't want to promote awareness of places or events that were male-centric (but will bend over backwards for women, trans or other minorities...just so long as no white men are credited).

I'm sorry but the bars and the gay community itself (especially men) should not be forced to relocate or vanish altogether because of contemporary tastes. It's like people who move in next to an airport and then tell they airport they have to cut the noise because it bothers them. If you don't like the fact there are going to be bare-assed men in leather on the street downstairs from you now and then, then don't move there. Otherwise just hold your tongue and leave others be. And, to the gay community, if you like or have a connection with where you are stand your ground and don't move just because your new neigbhors don't like you or your style.

Move the venue....BINGO!
change is inevitable. the fact that gays are becoming part of the overall mainstream was the point. If those behind this festival want to keep it unchanged, then it's going to die.
Nothing lasts forever. times and interests have changed. I love the poster who made the point that younger gays don't feel the need to ghetto-ize for either self-protection or to be comfortable being themselves in a public venue.
Isn't that what we've been fighting for?
Instead of a "gay" leather event...how about just a leather event? straights do leather too.
Gay people have families---they have kids---they have in-laws and a mortgage and all that good stuff. It's the way it should be. We cannot fight for inclusion and then bemoan it when our own exclusion gets in the way.
Perhaps festishism isn't the best reason for a public street fair? Rent a big hall, or warehouse or something like the comicons do. Or get a park permit. The entirety of the public which uses that public space should have some say in how it's used.
Once upon a time, the entirety of the public in that area was all for a public leather event.
Now...eh, not so much.
Change or stop. All there is to it.

What's wrong with the picture you paint is that there is this mad PC push to suddenly sanitize the gay world so it looks and quacks just like the straight world. When I was doing the TV talk show circuit in the 1980s about gay parents rights I received monumental blowback from everywhere in the gay community. Why? Because there I was on TV, masculine speech and mannerisms, wearing a suit and tie, and presenting myself as anyone's male relative/coworker/neighbor...not to mention I had sired children in the "traditional" manner. The NGLTF was absolutely outraged that I was mischaracterizing gays as being "just like everyone else except in bed." They went on a crusade to try and get a flaming decorator or hairdresser to also speak on whatever show I was doing so "the majority gay identity" was represented and to make guys like me look like the fringe or somehow "not really gay."

When I got involved in the movement, we wanted to be afforded the same courtesy, respect, and opportunity everyone else receives. "Gay Marriage" was nothing more than a tertiary concern that the vast majority of gay men really wanted nothing to do with. We were activists, advocates, and could go rabid radical in the blink of an eye if we were being dismissed, ignored, or walked on. And everywhere you went in the gay world, it was all about celebrating our diversity, our individuality, ourselves. Granted I was never big on drag and lacked the seemingly genetic addition to show tunes, classic movie actresses, Judy, Barbra or Cher...but the community insisted upon those as being part of our "cultural identity" so who am I to argue? So now we're supposed to clean things up and act like we're same-sex versions of heteros and be completely content.

NO. While disco and track lighting may be outre these days, being whitewashed and told we no longer need gay neighborhoods or gay bars or gay anything and that we have to keep our little fetishes and other cultural icons to ourselves and out of sight BY OUR OWN KIND is just not acceptable. It is a disgrace and an affront to everyone who had the courage and determination to stand up over the last 50 years to fight for the respect we have today possible. Who died and put Puritanical Republicans in charge of the show?

Great post.
If anyone tried to tell me that I was mischaracterizing gays as "being just everyone else except in bed." I would have exploded.
We are the exact same as everyone else except that we are same-sex attracted.
Well, I can only speak for myself, and I'm not gay, just homosexual.

Money will always be attracted to cheaper real estate and the less expensive neighborhoods were there may be a dramatically different population than elsewhere is bound to find themselves faced with the situation of change over. Evidently, the Folsom Street East area out priced what other gays were willing to pay out to remain. It has to be remembered that such as in the case of the Castro, it became associated with gays by the late 1960s and now basically one generation away it has again returned to families that although predominately Italian before are of other groups but none the less families that settled and lived in that area for several generations before. We have to do a better job at sustaining our presence in neighborhoods to call them our own. There will be the usual responses about the general lower income and job security of gays but it just shows our cohesiveness is lacking especially in the financial field by groups of gays banding together to buy real estate and make a stake in a neighborhood for several generations. We expect the world to change to better reflect that gays should exist and are viable then when we are opposed cry foul when we do not become full fledged members of society and the rat race. If Stonewall and the other actions were signs that we are not willing to put up with what is dished out to us then we really have to take charge and create our own future. If we equate debauchery with activities of the gay world such as Folsom Street East then let's look at similar events in the hetero world. Are the swinging clubs complaining that the neighborhood is not letting them have their exhibition/celebration on their block? They have their sex product shows at Las Vegas halls of thousands of square feet of floor space, hundreds of retailers and many more paying attendees. Is it commercialism? Yes, but the jingle is in their pocket not ours. Is it not so good to price people out of their neighborhoods? That's a personal judgment although it might have a different connotation pricing people out of their more affordable neighborhoods. The only guarantee in life if you are born alive is that you will die sometime after. The rest is all your effort since we would rather see people make their own way instead of restricting prosperity only to those that already have it. We expect people's perceptions to change toward gays so isn't it also part of the force at work in the real estate and financial worlds?

I have been volunteering at FSE since it began and was in front of the LURE. I hope it does not end,,, fun and frisky street fairs are what makes NYC interesting... let's hope they continue.. and don't forget,, this is a GREAT fundraiser for the three orgs we give all of the door money too.. great cause.... live on FSE~!!

James

The main reason that large-scale gay events like FSE are being pushed out is the same reason that the Republicans took back Congress 2 years ago (and could well add the Presidency to it in November): A *huge* number of gay people simply refuse to participate in the larger matters of community or civics. I have been involved with organizing quite a few community and civics efforts over the last 30 years and I speak from experience that gays by and large will only focus on a single "issue of the moment" and completely ignore everything else. In spite of what progressives and the "politically correct" machine insist, each and every one of us is part of the larger community and that our sexual identity is nothing more than ONE SINGLE ASPECT of what makes us tick. Our sexual identity is not the be-all and end-all of our existence and, to be absolutely blunt, IT DOES NOT MAKE US ANY MORE SPECIAL THAN ANYONE ELSE. No one owes us anything and we are not entitled to special consideration. If we willingly refuse to accept that life is about more than whatever the gay this or gay that is that everyone is harping on at the moment, we are the ones screwing ourselves...not anti-gay cabals or the Republicans or the President.

Those who cry loudest about gay culture and gay ghettos disintegrating are most often the ones who have done the least to sustain them. No community will flourish if the people in it don't participate in supporting and growing them. Gays are notorious for "fabulizing" some forgotten part of town, making it "the" place to be seen, and then running off and chasing the next shiny object. Gay bars are the shining example of this: Very few last more than a few years, once the people who made them worth going to just up and leave for the next hot spot. Real estate trends are a larger but more subtle demonstration. Those who moved in somewhere thinking they were part of something that was special and "for them" suddenly find themselves stranded there when the demographics change. Even worse, they often encounter catty, demeaning remarks for living at an "uncool" address. Their options are to stay and try to make the most of something that isn't what they came for/any different from what they came from, or surrender to the tide of "this is what's fabulous this week!"

Now, if gays weren't so much about being fierce and fickle bitches, more of us would move places with the sincere intention of calling it home for more than a year or 2. We would get to know our neighbors. We would keep tabs on what was going on besides who's on whose behind this week...like how are public services doing? Or, are the schools and libraries in the area performing adequately? Is crime on the uptick? Are big chain stores trying to destroy our local merchants? Are the folks we elected screwing us without so much as a kiss? And, we would engage in community efforts to make sure the quality of life in that neighborhood remains satisfying and appealing. Sadly, that effort takes precious time away from being seen in the scene.

Back in the 70s and 80s, the "gay identity" was largely about eschewing the mainstream, hetero lifestyle. Gays simply did not put down roots. Long-term relationships were not only uncommon, they were looked down upon and despised. It was hedonism, with but lots of fabulous hair, clothes, and track lighting. Since the 1990s, as we have become increasingly accepted by the mainstream, there's a push for us to now "fit in" to the "home and family" model (the very thing most gay men over 40 grew up running from). However, that model does not include non-conformist type events like Folsom, or going out to bars. In the mad rush to embrace the "classic" family values scenario, many gays are throwing those who are more comfortable with a less-conformist/more free-spirited lifestyle under the bus. To top it off, the vicious attitude that has grown and is dominant in many bars over the last decade that if you are older and/or in a relationship, you have absolutely no business being there does not help foster any sense of inclusion or community, either. In other words, we are turning our backs and disavowing everyone and everything that got us through the worst times of oppression and discrimination...even though the game isn't over yet and burning our bridges is just downright stupid.

Ignorance is not bliss. If you don't like what is happening around you, then don't just bitch about it on the Internet. Get off your ass and go to community meetings. Speak up and speak out against actions that you do not agree with. Get your friends to stand with you. What I see on a regular basis in my neighborhood efforts is that the "majority" seldom is that: It is usually not even a handful of people but they have big mouths, and know how to push the buttons by showing up at community meetings and city agency meetings, and pressuring elected officials. The *real* majority that does not agree with those people is MIA.

You get what you put in. If you are not personally engaged and working to make things happen the way you want them, you need look no further than the nearest mirror to see why things suck. If you want events like Folsom to continue, then it is up to you to stand up and work things out with the opposition so everyone is happy, or turn the tables on them, derail their opposition, and take back the neighborhood from them. I'm sorry, but this is not the promised land that I and so many others have been working and fighting to reach for the last 30 or 40 years. If FSE fades along with all the other bastions and icons of the gay community that is selling-out, plain and simple. It will be nice when all of our relationships are formally recognized and respected, but it will be a huge defeat if gaining that comes at the price of sacrificing true individuality, free expression, and being boring vanilla for the appeasement and comfort of others.

You couldn't be more right CapitalUncut. There are too many lazy and ignorant people these days who put lots of energy into lamenting and complaining about what they don't like but will turn around and cuss you out if you dare tell them their sitting on their hands is why things are fucked up. I have lived in the same apartment in Greenwich Village since 1974 and have seen how everything has changed over the years. It used to be the building was 100% gay. These days it is about 30%. Last year we had an uptight straight couple try to get the board to ban anyone from displaying pride flags because they felt their children were too young to be exposed to alternative lifestyles. I had far less trouble getting straight residents to oppose the proposal than I did the gay ones. "What good will it do?" "I don't have time for the meetings." "It doesn't affect me because I don't put up any kind of decorations." "Why are you older guys so hung up on this stuff?" Ultimately the proposal was defeated but with just 3 other gay residents in addition to me standing up. And you are absolutely right that those who want to keep Folsom where it has been should be trying to work it out with the neighborhood stakeholders; and if that goes nowhere organizing protests and making all sorts of noise. This is NYC for crying out loud, not the burbs. If you don't know from opening your mouth to get what you want you get nothing.

The gay community lost so much of its driving force and radical side to AIDS. Those of us who survived are vastly outnumbered by the next generation who have no experience or even knowledge of the struggles and fights we had to battle through. In their eyes someone else is supposed to do the work for you and the concept of standing up and doing for yourself is as alien as texting with the people right next to you is to our age group. I am almost certain that if we had not lost most of the uppity activists from the 1960s and 1970s that we would have had full equality by the mid 1990s. On top of that the country wouldn't be in such disarray and full of discouraged, apathetic, ignorant young people who refuse to stop living for the moment and are letting everything that truly matters slip through their fingers. I am glad to see not everyone of our generation has been bullied into silence and obscurity and tells it like it is. Strength and praise to you, brother!

you had me until the end.
Your age is showing. Simply put, the inclusion, the respect, we have been fighting for for the last 30-40 years has been successful and there is simply no more NEED to create or defend these bastions of "safety".
These areas were created, as you mention, in a time when such cloistering was necessary in order to have a safe place to simply BE. With the younger generation--the ones we fought so hard for--finding it less and less difficult to just BE virtually anywhere they want, the need for such venues is indeed withering.
We simply cannot have it both ways. We cannot fight for equality then fight for exclusion.
We are either part of the world or we are not.
It's not selling out to reap the reward of the battle. It seems to me you're more appalled by the idea that the battle is nearly over and that there won't be any more reason to maintain the fortress wherein to rest between squabbles.
Do not get me wrong--you sound like an old and honorable soldier who, on the verge of victory, is wondering what he's going to do with his armor and sword if/when he actually wins.
Put them in a museum, but don't continue to run down the street rattling them at vanishing enemies. It tarnishes the shimmer of your glory. We've won, dude. It's nearly over. Make museums of these places, make stories of this past--but you cannot expect the relics to survive the victory. We don't "party" at the Lincoln Memorial. We revere it. It is there as a symbol--nothing more. Who among us bemoans the end of the Civil War? A generation ago, there were still those who felt as you do now--that the South shall rise again and the final battle was still to be had.
And we called them old coots. We forgot their honor and bravery when it mattered.
Yes, there is still a long way to go for our kids, and, more than likely, it will be the generation after them that can grow up never even bothering to wonder what all the fuss was about. Being gay will no longer require a safe haven to just be themselves. They'll never know what it is like to have to make clandestine signals to another person to make that connection without the fear of being beaten to death or jailed or fired or run out of their home.
Do you think that peaceful life as "selling out"?
Or isn't that what you wanted from the start?
It's what I wanted.

We may not need clustering for acceptance and safety any longer, but why shouldn't having a sizable gay population or a variety of gay-specific venues and amenities in a neighborhood be just as much a draw/criteria as whether there are good schools, low crime, good shopping and a place of worship for a given faith? Just because we can live anywhere, does it mean we actually want to? Unless there's another revolutionary change that completely breaks down the sexual barriers so there are no longer "straights" and "gays," gays will eventually find themselves in the same emotional isolation as 50 years ago. While the fears of discrimination and violence may be gone, many won't have the kind of access to others like themselves. Being equal but miserable is not a good bargain.

Rather than whitewashing and sanitizing everything, we have to embark on a new era of pioneering and homesteading that fosters a sense of belonging, not just fitting in... like the Castro and Greenwich Village did in the 1960s and 70s. Whether they are within the same geographical footprint or somewhere else is irrelevant. But we must not completely abandon what we learned and what we built just because there is an armistice...otherwise victory is without meaning.

some great dialoge going on this one - it is so great to see veiwpoints and analysis so eliquintly[too bad I don't know how to spell it]stated. Change can be good,hopefully the festival will get bigger and better by following the 'cilentele' to where they are now hanging out - leather daddies can take the subway - love to you all.

i can't freaking spell either!!! Isn't it frustrating? I speak just fine. I type fast enough to be able to put my thoughts down nearly as quickly as if I were simply having a conversation.
What gets in the way is my inability to spell!!! I don't have to spell when I talk, dammit!
I'm enjoying these viewpoints too. Isn't it great to see how many really smart people there are on this site?
One of the reasons I like the place.

That leather stuff has it's dark side for sure where certain ancient restrictive societies were very disciplinarian on taming the very naughty barbarian peasants and not sparing the paddle at all for making them behave and sing like good choirboys and their is that family element thats not anything new since such lifestyle is older than China and not any newer than the new age renaissance attitudes of fitting into a crowd of professional analysts and sharp dressers. Mostly these days its just some fun where the masculine nature is never going to become overrun by the Hollywood vanity fashion plate scripting and putting words of literary genius in their mouths.

Nothing more natural than a beetch collar and slap on the naughty peasant bum from a guy who knows you in the real person sense of trust for sure.

Nice article. I'm not American, but I AM old enough to be glad and grateful that I lived through the glory days in the last century, the late 70's and early eighties.

All good things have to end at some point. That's just it. Bitch all you want, kick all you want but everything will eventually be sanitized and scrubbed clean with the (in)famous "Think of the children!" excuse.

I thought the best comment came from a respondent to the linked story: "I thought Bloomberg outlawed all fun as a public health issue."

Boozing and cruising any city neighborhood would attract the more seedy individuals since it can tend to draw the drug crowd and its not a good thing for city order whether its gay parties or straight parties or whatever type of block party it is.

You dont have to attend FOLSOM in order to lean over and get a good spanky so that each swat can be worth a buck or 2 towards a charity like was the case in Frisco one time where they donated a buck to HIV research type stuff for each swat a dude got on his bum and since it was the leather type atmosphere then such a thing was seen as fun rather than something to analyze like if it were in an area full of somewhat constipated professional types where seems like some super serious analytical types have their minds back in the ancient law books of zero tolerance before Jehovah went to anger management for having such issues up till it was suggested that it was okay to feel love that goes beyond just being obedient by force of law.

Have been saying from the time the LURE Closed on W 13th St. Rather than move it to the block in front of the Eagle. Make it like the Pier Dance. Have it on the pier where the dance use to be....... No need for any neighbors. Lots of space for ALL Bars/ stores to partake.

get ready for a good spanky at such a place for sure

My spouse and I bought a nice two story house in Portland, Oregon in 1987. It was in Southeast Portland, a neighborhood known as blue-collar, with a nice mix of house styles and some apartment buildings. At that time, the neighborhood was slightly run down. Hawthorne Street had some boarded-up buildings, and was definitely in need of some help. We noticed that while the houses were old in that area, there were many in the process of being painted or fixed up by owners. We bought the nicest house in a slightly shabby street.

When we moved to the Washington, D.C. area eight years later, the Hawthorne District was thriving, almost too noisy, and our house sold for three times what we paid for it. We were astounded. Since that time, prices have continued to increase. Today, we could not afford to live there.

Gay people tend to improve the neighborhoods they move into. We moved so my spouse could go to grad school. We weren't forced out by any means, and had we not had a great opportunity come up in the form of his degrees, we might still be there.

It is SOOOOOO amazing how the term 'gays come in and clean up' or 'gays move into the neighborhood' is assumed BY GAYS as a 'good' thing. Why do we assume that we're an improvement on any situation? The only ones who wants us are mostly close family and friends, but those who have nothing vested in us, couldn't give a shit. Most importantly, PLEASE NOTE, THIS SUBJECT IS ABOUT 'WHITE GAYS' and no other. Even if a minority gay is involved, its simply because he either has a white gay companion or he does not look ethnic. If 2 ethnically looking, middle eastern men tried most of this, they would get NOWHERE but the FBI on their trail, because a white gay dropped a dime. Many assume that 'gay means better, or uplifting, or some sort of improvement when it comes to things like this. Yet we accept and walk off like its true, but the public has NO CLUE how SO MANY gays are PRO-AIDS or PRO-HIV+? Confused, well ask the gay next to you when the last time he's used a condom. How many men have you met that ask you NOT to wear a condom or even reached for one before sex and yet stupid whores like Madonna and rotten corpse Liz Taylor always bragging about how much they've helped the AIDS Awareness. HEY LIZ, if you can hear me, your money has been used for new drapes for their offices than saving lives because TRUST ME, many gays haven't learned a damn thing.

Why do there have to be "gay communities," "straight communities," "white communities," "black communities," etc. Why can't there just be decent communities where any loving family can raise their children, work in peace, feel safe to walk with their loved ones hand in hand around their block ...regardless of what gender or what color they love?

We will never get to equality if we keep putting labels on everything....the label automatically denotes inequality for someone!