There’s a bit of buzz amongst the Leeds Twitterati about a proposal to designate a region of Leeds city centre as the “gay quarter”.
Aside from the interesting discussion about politics and about whether singling out an area in this way is a good thing, which is all very interesting, I’d like to draw attention to the proposed name itself.
Inclusive, tolerant, regions of cities in this country have historically found themselves labelled with the adjective gay, but in my opinion this is a dangerous and divisive anachronism.
The term gay, when applied to a person, refers to a specific type of marginalized sexual minority: specifically, someone who is exclusively or primarily homosexual. In modern times, the term LGBT is preferred as more inclusive, although this in itself fails to include so many people.
On top of that, most so-called “gay bars” are very welcoming of members of the cis/heterosexual majority as long as those people are welcoming back.
Sackville in central Manchester became known as the “Gay Village” in the 1980s but since the turn of the century it has gradually become simply the “Village”, which is a great way to indicate that there’s no good term that includes everyone.1 Similarly, most Pride events are now simply known as “Pride”.
If Leeds does name this part of town, let’s please choose a name that’s as inclusive as possible, instead of labelling it as purely the domain of one specific sexual orientation.