Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An article in the Los Angeles Times cites a study that says gay demographics are diversifying geographically.

[The] study shows that the number of openly gay couples in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1990, and the biggest increases are in the country's more socially conservative areas.

Utah is the poster state. Between 1990 and 2006, for example, it went from having the 38th-highest concentration of same-sex couples in the country to 14th highest. In that same time period, the percentage of gay couples who lived in large cities declined from 45% to 23%.

Thirty-eighth to fourteenth. Impressive. Why is this this happening? It turns out that coming out makes things easier, which in turn makes it easier to come out.

Growing acceptance of homosexuality means a decline in social stigma associated with same-sex relationships, and a consequent shift in the politics of coming out. The more people come out, the more accepting people are around them, and the more accepting the public becomes, the more people come out.

So I guess I should pack my bags and head back to Zion. I still miss my 100-year-old house on the Avenues in SLC. I guess it's safe to move back (although to be fair, my neighbors in Salt Lake accepted me and my boyfriend moving into their neighborhood with nothing but warmth and friendliness, even 18 years ago).


Beck said...

I read a similar article that appeared in the Deseret News yesterday. It's given me much to contemplate.

These times... they're a changin'!

By the way, I'm glad you had a good experience living in the Avenues. I love the Avenues and spent three years among her one-way streets of Victorian gems.

Scot said...

Interesting; thanks for posting it. This kind of goes hand in hand with the census data I posted on long ago, here and here. It seems Utah is also in the top three states in the percentage of gay headed households that are also raising children.

Holly said...

Hi MHH--I've been thinking about this aticle for a couple of days, and I'd like your opinion on this passage:

"Society is beginning to say that being gay is not such a big deal," Gates says. "What that means for gays is that homosexuality won't have the centrality to their identity it once did. Being gay then becomes one of a variety of an individual's competing identities."

In other words, as the challenges associated with coming out diminish, so does the primacy of the identity that that act of self-discovery and self-assertion once forged. It means that the culture once associated with gay identity becomes less distinctive from the mainstream.

It's hard for me to see this as anything but a good thing--I think it's great that people are human rather than gay or straight or bi--but I'm not gay and that primacy as part of my identity is not at risk. Do you see the "no big deal" development as a step in the right direction?

MoHoHawaii said...

Holly, I think the answer to this question depends on the person.

For myself I see full integration into mainstream life as being a wonderful thing for gay people. But then I'm already integrated into that world (many straight friends, a mainstream, professional job, etc.). Fortunately for me I live in a time and place where that kind of integration has been possible.

Others I know have based their lives around a gay identity. These people tend to live in gay neighborhoods, have "gay" jobs and socialize within a close circle of gay friends and acquaintances. For these folks I think the trend toward assimilation is disturbing. When the gay bars and restaurants shut down their world changes.

But, as we all know, the world changes in ways that we don't control. It's up to us to adapt or work for change within our sphere of influence.

Overall, I'm pleased in the way the developed world is responding to gay issues. I have high hopes that in 30 years we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

Holly said...

I have high hopes that in 30 years we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.