The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 January 2005

They're here, we're used to them

The search for ways to attract the "creative class," as Dr. Richard Florida would have it, has reached Spokane, and activists have come up with the notion of creating a "gay district," an "actual physical part of town" that will cater to the GLBT (add initials as needed) lifestyle.

What bothers me about this is not so much that there would be a gay district in Spokane — we have one in Oklahoma City, fairly diffuse but centered not far from me, that bothers me not at all — but that they think it can be imposed from without. It can't. (The last time American cities made an effort to create separate neighborhoods, the symbol was not a rainbow, but a large black bird.) And if you're wise, you don't announce in advance that you're going to create a district: you just do it, a building or two, maybe a block or two, at a time, and then present the world with a fait accompli.

This is not to say that my home town is exactly a hotbed of tolerance. But organized opposition to the GLBT community is conspicuous by its sheer ineffectuality: there is the usual rattling from legislators, and State Question 711, passed last year, certainly didn't help matters, but there's a big