Numerous causes have been named as a possible reasons for why gay bars are struggling: competition from mobile apps, increased tolerance of LGBTQ patrons in other bars, and organizers who have taken politics out of the bars and into the streets. While the extent of these factors is unclear and anectdotal, there is another culprit clearly driving harms LGBTQ businesses: gentrification.
When LGBTQ individuals resettled in gayborhoods, they chose housing in low income areas they could afford, which had been (and continued to be) deprived of investment by financial institutions and government. This is because subsequent to suburbanization, many urban areas remained under-developed and under-valued, except to the residents who made their homes there, until the beginning of the 21st Century.
Increased interest in living in urban areas where LGBTQ communities took as safe havens is driving up the costs of doing business and living in these areas, which pushing out the incumbent more economically vulnerable LGBTQ residents and businesses in favor of entrants with stronger financial standing, with fewer LGBTQ folks. Resulting dispersion and dilutionof LGBTQ community and spending, in turn, further restricts the revenue of remaining LGBTQ-serving businesses.
Impersonal macroeconomic forces, more-so than the LGBTQ community’s own will (e.g. infra-community competition), are the key driver of the dissolution of gay bars, businesses, and gayborhoods. Even absent direct “animus” it is apparent that due to their greater economic vulnerabilities LGBTQ communities are being discriminatorily dissolved and scattered against their will by the discriminatory effects of current economic systems. To resist this vicious cycle of gentrification and community destruction, the LGBTQ community must develop and employ creative financial solutions which can reduce costs and grow wealth within the LGBTQ community to keep these vital communities alive for future LGBTQ generations to come.