I have intermittently visited the idea of a gayborhood in Detroit on this blog. There has been some discussion of gayborhoods past (such as here, here and here), and some discussion of the need or desire for gayborhoods future (such as here, here and here). And maybe a little bit of kvetching about gayborhoods present (I'll spare you the embarrassing negativity).
The conversation about whether we even need a gay neighborhood in Detroit might be worth revisiting, since the landscape has changed so much even in the past two years. Gay visibility is about the same as it's ever been, which is to say "low," but websites like Facebook have made connecting with fellow city gays easier than ever before. The emergence of our fledgling but exciting alternative gay scene has provided a few social spaces that feel current and allow mingling that feels less like a trip to The Bar and more just like a trip to the bar. And if I've learned one thing it's that my "community" in this city has a lot less to do with sexual orientation than with shared passions.
But I continue to feel pretty strongly that better gay visibility in this city will make things better for everyone. Gay people are still making their mark on the cultural landscape of this town disproportionately to their presence here (and I feel kind of embarrassed for us that I hesitate to name names for fear of outing someone), and yet we get short shrift at every political turn. The pulpit in this churchy city hasn't let up, despite Charles Pugh's rather significant election. And even though shopping malls and tanning salons have apparently replaced fixer-uppers and opera as the mainstream gay hobbies of choice, I think there are still enough gays and lesbians with traditional gay values that both they and Detroit can benefit from a little momentum in the gay neighborhood department.
We have new leadership in this city, and there are some pretty radical ideas about reshaping density that are both daunting and exciting to imagine. It seems to me this is the perfect time for the gays and lesbians in the area to start thinking about shifting our own population density.
And this brings me to the point of this post (finally!), which is that this Sunday the West Village - the neighborhood I think could benefit the most from an influx of gay residents - is having a big open house tour and street festival! It's a super opportunity to get into the neighborhood, see the great variety of housing, meet some of the residents and discover an area that - for reasons that are beyond my comprehension - is still kind of a secret.
|Heaps of charm!|
I have dozens of reasons why I think this neighborhood has the most potential, and they range from the kinds of housing available to the fact that there aren't any puppetmasters trying to turn it into an "urban neighborhood." I'm sure I'll discuss them down the road. But suffice to say it's there and really cool and ready to become even cooler. And it's already been a homestead for many a gay, so you owe it to yourself to at least get it on your radar!
|Come and knock on their door!|
So take a little time on Sunday afternoon and stroll around the West Village! There are details here. Or just drive over to Indian Village and then walk two blocks west. Maybe you will see the possibilities I see!