"Montrose Is Not Just a Zip Code, It’s an Attitude": Why the Inner City Neighborhood Became Houston’s Gay Area

Friday, January 4, 2013: 9:30 AM
Bayside Ballroom A (Sheraton New Orleans)
John Goins, University of Houston
Houston, being younger in terms of a highly organized gay and lesbian community than greater gay capitals such as New York and San Francisco, presents an ideal model for noting the contours that characterize the great changes that have affected the lives of homosexual men and women during the second half of the 20th Century. These outlines are crucial for developing an understanding concerning the true nature and character of the communities that had emerged by the seventies and eighties. This paper is derived of a much broader study of lesbian and gay social movement activity in Houston from the middle part of the century to the present. It will seek to bring the intersection of place and identity into clearer illumination through an exploration of why the inner city neighborhood known as Montrose became the Houston’s gay area.

            The process by which Montrose came to be ubiquitously known as home to one of the nation’s largest, best-organized LGBT communities is a complex one and is inextricably linked to the ongoing evolution of homosexual identity and the particular changes that it was undergoing during the 1970s and 1980s. While many studies have upheld political activism as the primary solvent in the formation of LGBT communities, here causation is expanded as consideration is given to catalysts such as mainstream and alternative print media and entrepreneurial capitalism.

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