My neighborhood is now gay-friendly. Or at least for the Gay Games, which wrap up tomorrow (Sunday, July 23). Up until now, it’s been pretty non-descript as far as sexual orientation goes for the almost-20 years I’ve lived here. I mean, I knew there were gay people here, but the community fathers and mothers never really made the grand gesture to embrace it like Boys Town or Andersonville. It was just something that was there, along with all the other subcultures around (ethnic, mentally disabled, gangsta, etc.)
But since the arrival of athletes and other out-of-towners for the Games, Edgewater has become, I guess, one of the Official Neighborhoods of the 2006 Gay Games (sort of like Coke or Ford is for Major League Baseball). There are a couple of flags hanging from the street poles touting the games, signs on the former grocery story/beauty supply store on the corner of Winthrop and Bryn Mawr not only welcomes participants to the games, but flaunts the historic buildings of the area, which I didn’t even know.
I guess it makes sense to try and scoop up some of that disposable income that folks coming here to see the games will bring with them. And who knows, they may decided to stay once they see the surge of condos, fancy French restaurants, tanning parlors, bakery cafes and, of course, Starbucks. Hey, we’ve even got a big pink apartment building to use as a handy landmark. And the beach down Ardmore has long been a gay gathering place, or so I’m lead to believe. So why not ride on the coattails of Andersonville and no-so-quietly promote the area as a new gay-friendly area? Why not change the name from Edgewater to Andersonville East? After all, the name “Edgewater” is so generic that any neighborhood along the lake could use it.
If anything, it would make people who hang out on the corner a little more interesting.