It’s a New Day in the Gayborhood

After Nate Silver, the founder of the statistics blog FiveThirtyEight, correctly predicted the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election, Out magazine named him its Person of the Year. In an interview with Out, Silver spoke only briefly about being gay, but his comments on the topic attracted the most attention. “To my friends, I’m kind of sexually gay but ethnically straight,” Silver said.

Among those interested in Silver’s characterization was a sociologist named Amin Ghaziani, who has written a new book about America’s urban gay enclaves, “There Goes the Gayborhood?” In his book, Ghaziani portrays Silver—and his notion of being “ethnically straight”—as representative of a new gay sensibility, which Ghaziani, among others, calls “post-gay.” “Those who consider themselves post-gay profess that their sexual orientation does not form the core of how they define themselves,” Ghaziani writes, adding that “post-gays” spend just as much time with straight friends as with gay friends. “Actually, they generally do not even distinguish their friends by their sexual orientation.” (The “post-gay” concept is fraught, as it brings to mind the term “post-racial,” which refers to a time or place without racial prejudice and discrimination—a comparison Ghaziani seems to anticipate. “Post-gay does not mean post-discrimination,” he writes. Rather, Ghaziani uses the term primarily to refer to a period in which more gay men and women have the freedom to define themselves beyond their homosexuality.)

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