The following comments are by participants from some of the 17 world cities surveyed in the report: “Are gay communities dying or just in transition?” by BR Simon Rosser, William West and Richard Weinmeyer, in AIDS Care, May 2008.
The guys in the bars are getting older.
Gay men are driven from traditional gay neighbourhoods because of high real estate prices.
We now have only 1 bar remaining.
I see a dividing of the community around Pride; some people celebrate it and some won’t have anything to do with it.
We have decreased from 10 to 8 bars [but] more Internet use.
Bathhouses now have Internet hook-ups.
Before, there would be parties every night. Now it’s only on the weekend. I regularly travel to many European cities and the medium cities are the same all over.
Gays are joining into relationships at younger ages and settling down much sooner in a domestic way, like buying a house, moving out of the downtown village into suburbs.
There is a difference in South Africa between the rich gay community, which is becoming Internet-based and away from public participation, and the poor gay community which is becoming marginalized.
In London, the largest cruising [Internet] site just opened up an enormous bar in the middle of town with a computer so you can cruise their site while you’re out drinking.
There’s less gay visibility, friendships, and increased isolation, less parties and more party by Internet.
The bars were totally gay, [but] now they’re mixed.
Organizations around political issues have disappeared. Gay Pride has changed. We’re seeing a huge increase in corporate sponsors like everybody’s in there; they want a piece of it. More corporate and less social activist groups.
The drugs part of the bar scene has changed. Doing drugs at home is a lot safer in people’s minds, so house parties, hotel parties where there aren’t doormen and there isn’t security, is another reason for the bar scene to have fallen off.
There is less solidarity among gay people; gay people seem less and less social.
More people are online doing their own thing.
Mardi Gras is big business and increasingly mixed heterosexual and gay.
On gay radio stations, there used to be community-based information or debate. Now it’s almost all music.
There are greater numbers of the straight community moving into gay neighbourhoods; it’s become acceptable.
Bars have closed in the last 5-8 years and they have not been replaced. There are now maybe only two dance clubs, where 5-10 years ago they might have been 5 or 6.
[The young people aren’t coming into the visible community] … so there is a big difference here between the younger and the older men.