Thursday, September 11, 2008
Years ago, when West Hollywood first incorporated as a city, a big ta-do was made about the fact most of the City Council members were openly gay, a large number of the local businesses were owned or operated by their rainbow entrepreneurs, and the neighborhood was populated primarily with "out" fags.
Understandably, West Hollywood became a bit of a gay mecca.
Over the years, events like the annual Gay Pride Parade, grew in momentum and evolved into well-organized, highly-publicized (and accepted) gargantuan pride celebrations.
Today, hundreds of thousands of revellers, usually attend the festivities in June.
Meanwhile, the Carnaval on Halloween, has not only endured as a highlight each fall for the gays - but for the straights, too - who turn out in full force each spooky October 31st.
In fact, the high-energy entertainment extravaganza has become so popular over the years that - E Entertainment, ABC TV, and MTV - usually descend on the high-spirited occasion to capture coverage they'll broadcast on the airwaves all over the U.S.A.
A reporter once referred to West Hollywood as the "hippest" two-square miles on the planet.
Well, as Bob Dylan would warble, the times they are-a-changing.
Where young sexy men once sun-bathed at a local park just a hop-and-a-skip from the Design Center, a dozen or so young families now wile away the mornings with tots in tow.
And - in the early evening - you'll probably encounter more straight couples out shopping at the local grocery than muscled studs on their merry way to "Happy Hour" at trendy watering holes.
Yup, the whole "make-up" (forgive the expression) of the community has changed.
Some say, it's due to the fact a number of old apartment buildings and quaint little cottages have been torn down, and handily replaced with tony apartments and design-forward condominiums.
Well, that's part of the scenario.
Few young gay men can afford the sky-high rents, even with a room-mate cuddling up on the designer couch, in the one-bedroom unit.
When I discussed the trend with a friend the other day, he was inclined to point an accusing finger.
"Gays gentrify an area, then the straights move in."
Well, I don't know that it's a calculated plot, but to some it appears that way.
Others, on the other hand, theorize that because gay rights are now in force - which weren't in place when WEHO was first established - that homosexuals don't need to "cluster" in a ghetto for protection any longer.
Confident, liberated fags fan out now and blend into the communities nearby.
Today, West Hollywood is a mix of gays, seniors, and young straight couples.
Frankly, I find the demographic appealing.
The streets are safe and clean, there are no wild parties late at night during the week to wrestle a light sleeper from deep slumber, and there doesn't appear to be any negative element threatening to upset the status quo.
Gee, I must be getting old!!!