Fidel Castro: Ah, they're not so bad. They even named a street after me in San Francisco.
[Castro's aide whispers in his ear]
Fidel Castro: It's full of WHAT?!
A Cast Full of Gay in real life. It's the part of a major city that a good portion of its LGBT+ community calls home. Rainbow flags hang from the streetlights, and the streets are lined with gay bars, boutiques, trendy cafes, and overpriced housing. You're likely to run into any of the Queer as Tropes archetypes and their friends, see two men hold hands without fear of retribution and meet butch lesbians and manly gays who'll beat the ass of anyone who dares try.
Due to gentrification, the Gayborhood is often an upscale district, feeding the stereotype that all gay people have money out the yin-yang. Religious fundamentalists often preach about the evils of "that part of town," seeing it as a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, where prostitution and drug abuse run rampant, depraved homosexuals have bare buttsecks out of seedy bathhouses, and where one can't so much as bend over to pick up change without having a Leatherman on top of him like white on rice (how they know all of this is a different story).
The more touristy gayborhoods are often known as "gay meccas," as in, someplace every gay person (...who makes enough money to leisurely travel and has enough interest in the scene) should visit at least once. These areas might be separate from a big city, and quite affluent due to tourism. Stories based here tend to feed stereotypes that gay people (particularly the men) do nothing but lounge around pools and have sex all day.
Stories with a predominantly-gay cast are often based in this setting. Twinks in the midst of their Coming-Out Story will visit the bars here on their first taste of the nightlife. Straight characters who come here for the first time are often in a state of wonder or paranoia towards the locals. The Gayborhood will often visually resemble San Francisco's world-famous Castro district, even if no other part of the city has a streetcar (and the famous cable cars don't actually run anywhere near the Castro). However, real-life gayborhoods are as diverse as the cities they're based in.
In real life, gayborhoods got started under the threat of homophobia. Gays were motivated to live close to each other so they could have a community that wouldn't judge them. Many also wanted to minimize interaction with hostile police departments. For example, West Hollywood became a gayborhood because it used to be unincorporated territory under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department rather than the LAPD, who at the time was notoriously homophobic. In other cities, gayborhoods are either upscale parts of town where gay couples with two incomes and no kids could settle and make their lives, or working-class neighborhoods neither expensive nor crime-ridden, where gays would renovate the houses and open businesses, gentrifying the area over time until it became upscale, for better or for worse. In some cities, opponents of gentrification do not even pretend not to be motivated by homophobia.
With LGBT tolerance becoming more mainstream in many parts of the world, there's less motivation for queer people to move to the nearest gayborhood. Some are worried that widespread tolerance, though obviously a good thing overall, will reduce the population and uniqueness of the gayborhoods and their associated culture. Indeed, thanks to this effect, gentrification, or both, some gayborhoods have become The Theme Park Version of their former selves.
- One Piece has even islands full with homosexuals. Amazon Lily is an all-women island where reproduction only happens outside of it. All women are in love with Empress Boa Hancock, and many of them admire the other Boa sisters, too, Sandersonia and Marigold. And Okama Kingdom is an island where everyone is either a transgender woman or a transvestite.
- Wonder Woman: As to be expected of a local where everyone is the same gender all the couples on Themyscira/Paradise Island are lesbian couples, and asexual Amazons are also not uncommon. This is first addressed in the text in Wonder Woman (2006) where Diana informs Tom Tresser that Amazons have their own courting rituals.
- The Discworld fanfic Coming Out is about the development of Ankh-Morpork's LGBTQ+ community in an area that becomes known as HubMor (for Hubwards Morpork), the Hamlet, or Kelsey (no-one's sure where that last one came from), centred around the Brickwall Tavern.
- The Joyous One has a trans equivalent in Beldúno.
- Played for Laughs in Kim Possible Recut (Kigo), which is a video that recuts Kim Possible to make it seem like a Coming-Out Story about a teenager realizing she's gay. Shego and Kim end up in San Francisco near the end.
- The Road Built In Hope is a Land of Oz oneshot where Dorothy stays with two suffragette women while staying in San Francisco. Though Dorothy doesn't notice, the duo are a couple.
- Mary in Mary and Max mentions how her husband Damian takes her on honeymoon to Mykonos. Mykonos, famous in Europe as a gay tourist destination. Also, Damian wants to be in the theatre and is oddly reluctant at first to consummate their marriage. No wonder he eventually leaves Mary for a (male) Kiwi shepherd.
- In Mambo Italiano, during his Coming-Out Story, the protagonist visits this quarter for the first time. Quite important for him.
His vain female rival: "Give me an hour in the Gay Village and there's not gonna be a Gay Village no more!"
- South Beach in The Birdcage. When it's suggested to get Camp Gay houseboy Agador out of the house for a while, Armand shoots it down.
Val: Um, Dad, could we hire a, say, a straight maid for tonight?Armand: There are no straight maids in South Beach.
- Two deleted scenes from Freddy Got Fingered shows that Gordy's boss and his boyfriend live in one.
- The Times of Harvey Milk, a documentary about Milk the gay rights activist and gay politician, also documents how the Castro turned into the first gayborhood as gays and lesbians like Milk came to San Francisco in their thousands.
- Likewise the fictionalized film Milk.
- A Confederacy of Dunces has this as an Unbuilt Trope. The novel focuses on the French Quarter of New Orleans, which while never a Gayborhood in its entirety, was noted even then (the early '60s) to attract "characters", of whom many were gay. The character (both senses) of Dorian Greene is rather important to the story, and the gradual development of the gay community there is noted by the presence of Greene's costume party (at which men dance with men, call each other "darling," and gush over a Judy Garland record). He invites ultra-ultra-conservative (and definitively straight aside from quirks, but also definitively a "character") Ignatius T. Reilly to said party. Hilarity Ensues.
- These Words Are True and Faithful: Ernie enjoys being seen with Sam here. Later, Ernie's indiscretion is discovered here.
- Liberty Avenue in Queer as Folk, though this is not Truth in Television for Pittsburgh in Real Life.
- And Manchester's Canal Street (Truth in Television - more than a few wags have tried to scrape the C off) in the UK original version.
- Dante's Cove in the TV show of the same name, an upmarket island resort where the residents appear to do little else except have gay sex.
- Everyone in LA on The L Word seems to be gay, bisexual, or transgender - at least the people the cast intervene with. Nevermind the fact that the cafe they all hang out at is a gay cafe.
- Similar to the above example, the Los Angeles of the Noah's Arc universe is chock full of gay men. The vast majority of anyone the cast interacts with is gay.
- In an episode of Dharma & Greg, Greg runs for Congress. At the end of the episode, his opponent comes out of the closet:
Greg: Think this is gonna hurt me?
Dharma: Honey, this is San Francisco and unless you can turn into Judy Garland right now, you're through.
- Little Britain has Llandewi Breffi, where apparently the entire population is gay. Focus character Daffydd has failed to realize this and insists he's "the only Gay in the Village" because he's the only one who dresses and acts stereotypically; he's been seen to turn down dates rather than admit other gay people exist.
- Criminal Minds featured a serial killer in a Gayborhood. His first few victims were straight, but when he started targeting gay men, the local police feared it was a hate crime. The BAU team quickly determined that it was a serial killer who just happened to be gay himself and was targeting victims he was attracted to (as most of them do) and was staying in the area specifically to scare his husband back into his arms.
- Hightown: There's a major LGBT community on Cape Cod, where Jackie lives.
- Gay-themed disco act Village People released "San Francisco" and "In Hollywood (Everybody Is A Star)" as their first two singles, and later tracks included "Go West" (also about San Francisco), "New York City", and "Fire Island".
- Comedian Dat Phan has a bit about living in a Gayborhood, because it was a nice place, affordable, relatively safe, and he didn't realize until after he moved in. As of his first Comedy Central special, his mother (who thinks that earrings mean guys are either gay or in a gang, depending on the ear) still hadn't realized that he was gay-adjacent.
- Brendon Burns had a bit which provided the former page quote for Discriminate and Switch. He is talking about a particular upscale Gayborhood and mentions that he saw a lot of gay men living there but very few lesbians (and felt ripped off because of it). He theorizes that, in general, lesbians can't afford to live there, while gay men can because they usually have a lot of money. "Why is that, you ask? BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE A FRIGGIN' GIRLFRIEND! That's right, at first it seemed like I was going to be homophobic, turns out I'm just sexist."
- Todd Allen lived in a gayborhood with his girlfriend, and they adopted a cat together: a very fat black cat named Steve. One day, Steve escaped out the window and ran off. Todd ran outside after him.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has the Queens district in San Fierro, inspired by the Castro and San Francisco, respectively (although unlike other locations in the game, it looks nothing like the real Castro). It was a pleasant surprise to see the area treated with no more derision than usual for GTA. That is, there's no "Rampage" mission and it's treated as another one of the three cities' cultural districts. Still, there's not much to actually do there besides playing a Rhythm Game in Gaydar Station. A bit of a stealth joke is the street layout. None of the streets in Queens is completely straight, it's all curves and turns.
- Developers for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade reputedly based the Blood Elf capital Silvermoon City on West Hollywood.
- It's possible to craft one of these in The Sims series, though you would need to use mods and hacks to eliminate the undesired opposing gender. In The Sims 3, this can happen if a sim enacts a same-sex romantic interaction, especially with an inactive sim.
- The Castro is a prominent location for the Prime_Eight quest line in Watch_Dogs 2 as a gay bar is the favorite haunt of Lenni, the leader of the opposing hacker group to DedSec.
- In an episode of The Simpsons where Homer and Marge separate, Homer finds a roommate in Springfield's gayborhood, though this doesn't occur to him even as he runs into Smithers rollerblading in hotpants and a trolley full of manly gays rolls by and calls him a bear.
- Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World (South Park WITH GAY PEOPLE!) is based in West Lahunga Beach, somewhere in Southern California.
- West Quahog in Family Guy.
- In the United States:
- As noted in the description, San Francisco's Castro District. Famous enough that it often gets conflated with the entire city in popular culture; many people consider all of San Francisco to be America's gayborhood. And as a bit of Truth in Television, it really is rather upscale these days and you probably can't afford to live there. No matter who you fancy. Gentrification, the Bay Area's housing crisis, and the success of the gay rights movement have all led to this trope dying out in the Bay Area. As gay people receive more acceptance from mainstream society, there's less need to live in a special part of town for protection or to find partners. Bay Area news reports are full of how gay-oriented businesses in the Castro are dying, and how high-class clubs are causing longtime residents to be angry at the drunks hanging around Sunday at noon.
- New York City's Greenwich Village. Made famous by the Stonewall riots, which are often viewed as the event that started the gay rights movement. In the past few decades, it has expanded to Chelsea as well as Hell's Kitchen, which has been aptly named "Hellsea." As with San Francisco, the whole city is often considered to be one.
- Fire Island is a popular getaway for NYC's gay community. In one story, David Sedaris talks about a guy whose apartment he once cleaned used references to Fire Island to signal that he wanted to have sex with Sedaris, not realizing that he had mixed up Sedaris—who actually cleaned apartments—with a gay "house cleaning" service that actually... well... they didn't so much clean your house as "clean your house".
- Provincetown (for the boys) and Northampton (for the girls), Massachusetts, the former located at the tip of Cape Cod and the latter sitting on the other end of the state at the foothills of the Berkshires. Boston also has the South End (which, incidentally, should never be confused with South Boston if you value your life), though Jamaica Plain has been seeing its share of runoff in the face of mounting gentrification in the South End. P-town, ironically, is where the Pilgrims first arrived in America; they signed the famous Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor and sailed to the West End of Cape Cod (where they would found Plymouth) shortly thereafter.
- Los Angeles' West Hollywood, as mentioned earlier.
- Palm Springs, out in the California desert, serves as a retreat for gay Angelenos the same way Fire Island serves gay New Yorkers. Palm Springs is also a popular gathering spot for lesbians when the ANA Inspiration, one of the five major championships in women's golf, comes to town every spring. This, both for golf and for general partying, has led to the event occasionally being called "spring break for lesbians".
- Cleveland's main gayborhood is a combination of the Edgewater neighborhood and the bordering suburb of Lakewood. While the west side of town has historically been much friendlier to gays than the east, the east-side suburb of Cleveland Heights deserves special mention as well for instituting a domestic partner registry in 2003 when same-sex marriage was still illegal.
- Cincinnati LGBT likely will gravitate towards the artsy Northside.
- Columbus' Short North (along High Street between the Statehouse/downtown area and Ohio State University's main campus) is half art district, half gayborhood.
- 10th and Piedmont in the Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta. Also, Downtown Decatur has a thriving lesbian scene. Little 5 Points is also known for being a haven for gay people as well as others who may not fit in. For that matter, Atlanta is often conflated into being the Gayborhood for the entire Deep South. All major Southern cities have their own gay scenes, but "Hotlanta" is legendary.
- The Windy City has Boystown, with Halsted St. as the focal point. The Other Wiki even mentions that it is the original Gayborhood.
- Miami is also a good contender for the title of the South's Gayborhood, though that largely depends on whether you think Miami is Southern as opposed to New York's Sixth Borough (or the seventeenth province of Cuba or the eleventh department of Haiti or the capital of the Caribbean). Within the Miami area itself, Miami Beach especially has this reputation, hence why the 1996 American remake of La Cage aux folles moved the setting there; the gay community is often credited for sparking Miami Beach's revitalization after the drug wars of The '80s gave the whole of South Florida a reputation as Cartel Country. Wilton Manors, a city just north of Fort Lauderdale, also has rainbow flags flying above every other storefront, especially with Miami Beach growing increasingly gentrified.
- Walker's Point in Milwaukee is sometimes explicitly referred to as "The Gayborhood." Older gays with money have tended to migrate a few blocks south to the Bay View neighborhood. There's even a sign directing people to the ferry.
- The one in Philadelphia—the area from 11th to Broad, Walnut to Pine, forming an approximate square southeast of City Hall, centered somewhere around the 1200 block of Locust Street—is usually called "the Gayborhood." Its "proper" name is "Washington Square West", but most natives will laugh in your face if you use that name.note Tourists often stumble upon it by accident as it's in Center City ("downtown") between the Independence Mall (where Independence Hall and all that touristy Revolutionary stuff are) and the main business district surrounding City Hall, and are surprised to find that even the street signs have a rainbow theme◊.
- Historically, New Hope, PA (a Quirky Town roughly halfway between New York and Philadelphia where the Old York Road crosses the Delaware) was popular with gay Philadelphians and (to a lesser extent) gay New Yorkers as a weekend/short vacation getaway. This is less pronounced today, but the influence can still be seen.
- Traditionally, Dupont Circle was both the gayborhood and the art district of Washington, D.C., although gentrification keeps pushing both ever eastward.
- In Pittsburgh, Shadyside is the historical focus of queer culture in the city, but since it's also quite expensive, LGBT people have spilled into much of the east side, with gay bars scattered here and there. It is important to point out that Liberty Avenue, despite its depiction on Queer as Folk, is just an average main street that originates downtown. The writers probably got the idea because Liberty has been home to a few gay bars (as of 2020, only one remains), had a reputation for transgender prostitutes, and hosted the Pride festival for a number of years, but these owe more to its central location than anything else. Altogether, Pittsburgh's LGBT community is much less centralized than in other cities.
- San Diego has Hillcrest. In recent years, gentrification and shifting demographics have also expanded the gay-village boundaries into adjacent neighborhoods, North Park and University Heights in particular.
- Asbury Park, New Jersey became this for the Jersey Shore once gentrification hit Greenwich Village. Hometown hero Bruce Springsteen approves.
- Allentown, in Buffalo, New York, is supportive of the LGBT community, and the gay community itself is rather sizable.
- Dallas has Oak Lawn as its main gay neighborhood, with the Bishop Arts district rapidly becoming a secondary one.
- Capitol Hill and Wallingford in Seattle have the largest concentrations, though gentrification on the former is causing spillover into the Central District.
- The Montrose district of Houston, Texas.
- In New Orleans, the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods just downriver from the French Quarter are famously gay. The French Quarter itself has been said to be the world's only entertainment district where both the straights and gays party right next to each other. When you cross St. Anne Street (the "Lavender Line" or the "Suck-sum Dicksum Line"), the bars and clubs suddenly change over from straight to gay. The French Quarter itself is at least partially a gayborhood, for the more well-heeled confirmed bachelors. (For a snapshot in the development of the French Quarter's relationship with the LGBT community, read A Confederacy of Dunces, listed in "Literature" above.)
- Baltimore, Maryland has the neighborhood of Mount Vernon, which is also a designated National Landmark Historic District.
- Rochester, NY has a very large GLBTQ community with a ton of history. Most of this population is concentrated in the Southeast Quadrant of the city, particularly the South Wedge, the Neighborhood of the Arts, Park Avenue, and Upper Monroe neighborhoods.
- Subverted in San Antonio, Texas, despite the claims of any neighborhood with more than one gay bar. The city, with its heavy military presence, used to be very homophobic. But since the 2000's, San Antonio's general attitude towards LGBT people and culture has done a complete 180 to the point that by the time it was ready for a gayborhood, there wasn't much need for one. A few neighborhoods try to capitalize on this trope, but there isn't really a gayest place in the city.
- "The Grove" district, centered around a portion of Manchester Avenue in St. Louis. Houses a string of gay- and lesbian-"friendly" bars, art venues, and shops. The strip also houses a branch of the renowned soul-food restaurant Sweetie Pie's (link to The Other Wiki). Not actually in or adjacent to either of StL's neighborhoods with "Grove" in their official names.
- Phoenix has the Melrose District, traditionally focused on N. 7th Avenue between Indian School and Camelback Roads.
- Louisville has a couple of especially gay-friendly areas. Foremost is The Highlands, a highly eclectic district to the southeast of downtown. Old Louisville, between downtown and the University of Louisville, also has a significant LGBT presence, and in recent years Germantown and Smoketown (both between The Highlands and Old Louisville) have been developing the same.
- Gay activists in 1970 announced plans to turn an entire county into a gayborhood. Alpine County, California, south of Lake Tahoe, had a population of about 430. Activists announced plans to move several hundred people to the county, recall the county government, and replace it with an all-gay board. After a bit of a hubbub from straight people, plans were abandoned after about a year, and there has since been the suggestion that the whole thing was a publicity stunt.
- Outside of major metro areas, college towns often serve this purpose, even in conservative areas (assuming the local university isn't a fundamentalist school). One example that comes to mind is Morgantown, West Virginia, home of West Virginia University, the largest college in the state. The city is known for its large and politically-active LGBT community.
- In Europe:
- Amsterdam's Reguliersdwarsstraat note .
- Mykonos, Greece. Foreigners might assume it's Lesbos (as in "Lesbian"), but with its conservative Greek Orthodox church-going population, Lesbos is quite the opposite. The name does reference the island, but the native of Lesbos who inspired it is literally ancient history, and modern-day residents prefer to be called "Lesbosians" specifically to distance themselves from the queer connotations.
- The area around Nollendorfplatz in Berlin. During the Weimar Republic, Berlin as a whole was seen as this for not just Germany but for Europe in general, being the home of numerous gay, lesbian, and even transgender nightclubs and Magnus Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, one of the first major LGBT rights groups in the world, all more or less permitted by police who turned a mostly blind eye. In short, it was this trope combined with Freestate Amsterdam. Needless to say, the Nazis clamped down hard on all of this when they took power, driving the city's gay culture into exile or underground.
- The stereotype is that Brighton is the Gayborhood for the whole of the UK - in reality, it has one of its own in Kemptown.
- Manchester's Canal Street (more than one vandal tried scraping the C off the road signs), the setting of the UK Queer as Folk. The whole region surrounding it is referred to as the gay village so often that it's almost the official name of the district. Often called "The village" for short.
- Old Compton Street in London.
- Hebden Bridge is a small town in West Yorkshire that gets the same schtick as Brighton for its large LGBT population.
- Bournemouth is often stereotyped as a Poor Man's Substitute for Brighton, with more old people. It has its own Gayborhood, known as the Triangle.
- Chueca, in Madrid, Spain. Though an odd mix between an expansion and a de-centralisation has rendered the whole Centro District with a remarkable even ratio for gay towards straight people. At times it would seem that everybody is gay in such iconic places as Puerta del Sol. But still, Chueca remains as a get-go term for Madrid's homosexual population.
- The Marais in Paris. Not all of it, but a section.
- The whole of Paris is sometimes Flanderized as this for the whole of France, although mentioning "le Marais" is as explicit (even outside of Paris, and among straight people) as mentioning "The Castro District" in the US.
- Nice on the French Riviera seems to have a fairly consistent reputation as gay mecca, though oddly enough it's also quite conservative, the Riviera being to France what Florida is to the US.
- To the extent that Angers, France can be said to have a Gayborhood, La Doutre would certainly qualify; although most bars are in the old city, the few gay bars are in what used to be the seedy, medieval, Drug Addicts And Hookers neighborhood across the river from the city centre and is now largely gentrified.
- The Glockenbach Viertel (Glockenbach neighborhood) in Munich, Germany used to be this. Nowadays it is still to a certain extent, but due to gentrification and a lot of clubs, it has grown beyond the stereotype.
- Hamburg-St. Georg is sometimes claimed to be this. Part of it actually is.
- In Canada:
- Vancouver's Davie Village.
- Toronto has Church Street, so called because it has a big church on it. St. Michael's Cathedral is probably the origin of the name, though there are also a couple of other large ones in the area. Strangely enough, not Queen Street (lame joke).note While the two do intersect, the Gay Village peters out around that area and it gets kinda ghetto.
- Although a different part of Queen Street (Queen West) is starting to be called "Queer West" because it's getting way too expensive to live on Church St.
- Montreal's Gay Village is centered on the eastern part of the Rue Sainte-Catherine, which is the main artery through Downtown. Montreal is actually really weird in this respect, because not only is the gay village on the main drag near the heart of Downtown but so are a shit-ton of (straight) strip clubs. Of course, Montreal is weird in general. Awesome, but weird.
- In Australia:
- Prahran in Melbourne.
- And Oxford Street in Sydney.
- Also Fortitude Valley/neighbouring suburb New Farm in Brisbane. At least, throughout most of the 80s, 90s, and into the 00s. Undergoing something of a similar "gentrifying" shift to that of San Francisco over the last 10 - 15 years, though.
- Shinjuku Nichoume in Tokyo.
- Tel Aviv is, to some extent, trying to market itself as such, and it is indeed one of the most gay-friendly parts of Israel, if not the most friendly (this, of course, excludes the poorer parts of Tel Aviv, namely southern Tel Aviv).
- It's certainly the most gay-friendly city in the Middle East, but that isn't saying very much — even within Israel.