Part of the appeal to living in the city, included a more visible gay community. Or at least being in a community that is gay friendly. That was how I ended up living in Norfolk for the first three years of college. But even with the few gay bars in the area like The Wave, Jack’s Attic (which is only a few months old) and The Garage, there still isn’t a real sense of community. I find that when I’m walking in Ghent, whether during the day or at night, I could hold a man’s hand and walk down the street and feel safe. But even with that sense of “ok-ness” I’m not feeling totally satisfied with the representation in the community. Which then led me to wonder about my university’s representation and involvement. ODU currently, has two active organizations on campus; ODUOut and ODU PRIDE. I have been involved with both of these organizations at some point throughout my college career. PRIDE is only going into its second semester, and still in its efforts to create a presence, but what about ODUOut. As a gay man, I want to be part of an organization that is welcoming, open to all members (whether gay or straight) and active; unfortunately ODUOut is the opposite. With my experience and those that others have shared about ODUOut, I feel there is a detachment from the college with the community. Its strange to me that I would feel safer being in downtown holding hands with my boyfriend in comparison to how I would feel doing that on campus. Then that led me to a question “Does the lack of a strong gay community have any effect on the lack of a strong gay community within the city?” If there is no communication between the two, then how do they know whats going on or what can be done to help?
This blog may sound more like a rant, but honestly, think about it. We hear from others, that Norfolk’s “gay-borhood” is Ghent. But how true is that? The typical gay-borhood would be something like Dupont Circle in DC, Boys Town in Chicago or Castro in San Francisco. Even though Norfolk isn’t as big as the three cities, it’s name still holds a considerable amount of recognition globally and nationally. So is it wrong to want to have a gay center without being obnoxiously proud? Or do the residents and fans of Ghent all share an unspoken understanding of liberalism and acceptance?
tell me what you think!