New York Times writer Adam Nagourney, an openly gay man, has been awful for as long as I can remember.
One of his worst fuck-ups, in a long line of them, was when he co-wrote a June 16, 2015, article about a residential balcony collapse in Southern California during which six people were killed, and seven others injured.
Because the students were part of an Irish student exchange program, Nagourney decided that, instead of treating it as the straightforward tragedy it was, he was going to highlight the drunk Irish partier aspect. The relatives and friends of the victims were rightfully horrified.
Nagourney would later say, “[T]here was a more sensitive way to tell the story. I absolutely was not looking to in any way appear to be blaming the victims, or causing pain in this awful time for their families and friends. I feel very distressed at having added to their anguish.”
At least he apologized (sort of) for that fuck-up. He has rarely even admitted he was wrong even when he was spectacularly wrong. And he’s done stuff like this his ENTIRE career. And, yet, he keeps getting rewarded with jobs like LA bureau chief.
Anyway, Nagourney has an article in the New York Times (here via Yahoo) headlined: “Once a Crucial Refuge, ‘Gayborhoods’ Lose LGBTQ Appeal in Major Cities.”
“I walk around the neighborhood that encouraged me for so many decades, and I see the reminders of Harvey and the Rainbow Honor Walk, celebrating famous queer and trans people,” Jones said as he led a visitor on a tour of his old neighborhood, pointing out empty storefronts and sidewalks. “I just can’t help but think that soon there will be a time when people walking up and down the street will have no clue what this is all about.”
Housing costs are a big reason for that. But there are other factors as well.
LGBTQ couples, particularly younger ones, are starting families and considering more traditional features — public schools, parks and larger homes — in deciding where they want to live. The draw of “gayborhoods” as a refuge for past generations looking to escape discrimination and harassment is less of an imperative today, reflecting the rising acceptance of gay and lesbian people. And dating apps have, for many, replaced the gay bar as a place that leads to a relationship or a sexual encounter.
Many gay and lesbian leaders said this might well be a long-lasting realignment, an unexpected product of the success of a gay rights movement, including the Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage in 2015, that has pushed for equal rights and integration into mainstream society.
There are few places where this transformation is more on display than in the Castro, long a barometer of the evolution of gay and lesbian life in America. It is a place where same-sex couples crammed the streets, sidewalks, bars and restaurants in defiance and celebration as LGBTQ people in other cities lived cloistered lives.
It was the stage for some of the first glimmers of the modern gay rights movement in the late 1960s; the rise to the political establishment with the election of openly gay officials like Milk; and the community’s powerful response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.
“Gayborhoods are going away,” Cleve Jones said. “People need to pay attention to this. When people are dispersed, when they no longer live in geographic concentrations, when they no longer inhabit specific precincts, we lose a lot. We lose political power. We lose the ability to elect our own and defeat our enemies.”
Cynthia Laird, news editor of The Bay Area Reporter, an LGBTQ newspaper based in San Francisco, said she was reminded of this transformation every time she walked through the neighborhood.
“I wanted to get a picture of people walking in the rainbow crosswalk at the corner of Castro and 18th Street, and there was nobody walking,” she said. “The Castro and San Francisco have changed a lot over the past 25 years. We have seen a lot of LGBTQ people move from San Francisco to Oakland — which is where I live — and even further out in the East Bay.”
This “younger gays no longer need old-fashioned gay neighborhoods” trope has been around a long time, so Nagourney is once again very late to this party.
But as Nagourney marvels at all the progress that has been made that is allegedly making gay ghettos obsolete, you’d think he’d mention one simple fact that should give everyone pause in the “post gay” celebrating: it can all be taken away, and very well might be.
Not once does awful Adam Nagourney mention that we have a Supreme Court that stands ready to kick out the foundations of every sexual orientation-related pro-gay decision ever handed down by SCOTUS. The same goes for GOP governors and legislatures and supreme courts in several states, all of whom are itching for test cases where Clarence Thomas might get his wish to overturn Lawrence, Obergefell and a host of other privacy-related decisions.
I see no reason to not do an article about the demise of “gayborhoods,” even if Nagourney downplays that real estate is the chief reason the most famous of them are less gay all the time. Even Cleve Jones, the anchor of this week’s Nagourney article, says he is leaving because his rent was jacked up.
But at least also mention the ever more powerful forces that are allying themselves against the LGBT community, instead of writing this shit article that makes it seem as if the chief reasons are that we simply don’t want or need those neighborhoods because we’ve moved-on to a LGBT utopia.
That would require a depth Nagourney has always lacked.