Wen I first moved to Philadelphia in 2010, I was struck by the starkly descriptive name of Philadelphia’s LGBT neighborhood. I’d just come from a brief tenure on the West Coast, where I’d visited the Castro, San Diego’s Hillcrest, and lived on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. All of these were proudly queer neighborhoods: I met my editor at The Stranger in a bar adorned with floor-to-ceiling images of naked men and bathrooms earmarked for “boys” or “men.”
But you wouldn’t know these were LGBT-oriented communities by looking at a map. In Philadelphia, on the other hand, it’s just called the Gayborhood. At first I thought everyone was joking, or just applying the common nomenclature of gayborhood (lower case g) that was by then being widely applied to many urban LGBT neighborhoods. But no, Philly had apparently decided to apply its notoriously blunt nature to the name of its queer neighborhood, too.