WeHo’s Boystown: Has It Lost Its Homo Identity?


Since the 1920’s, West Hollywood and nightlife have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. Under the lax jurisdiction of the L.A County Sheriffs Department, the unincorporated Los Angeles neighborhood attracted droves of Prohibition-era revelers to its Sunset Strip casinos and speakeasies. It also provided sanctuary for L.A.’s LGBT forefathers fleeing the homophobic purview of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Nearly a century later, positive media representation and civil rights victories such as marriage equality have thrust the queer community into the mainstream. This evolving LGBT identity is reflected in the current state of West Hollywood’s nightlife, which, according to a 2014 L.A. Times article, is beginning to skew towards a more heteronormative demographic:

“West Hollywood has seen a development boom that has made the city a more hip, but not necessarily more gay, address. While the city’s gay population has remained at about 40% for some time, the commercial scene is changing. The city’s last lesbian bar, The Palms, was razed last year because the property owners wanted to develop the site, where an upscale supermarket has been proposed.”

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