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Are the Gay Days of West Hollywood on the Way Out?

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When the West Hollywood City Council took down the rainbow flag over city hall in January, their gesture at inclusiveness inflamed some residents' worries that WeHo's gay edge is dulling. (The city council later voted to put up a version of the city flag with a rainbow on it.) For every permanent rainbow crosswalk, there's something that seems to detract from the neighborhood's rep as a "gay haven," says the LA Times: Official designation for Boystown was shot down as "too narrow" (what about the non-boys?); the Pride Parade has been criticized as a corporate-sponsored bacchanalia that doesn't acknowledge the civil rights aspect of "pride" anymore. "The shedding of the LGBT identity is happening slowly with development [and] straight business owners," says one resident. "There's just a changing environment in West Hollywood."

As the fancy mixed-users proliferate and the $80-million megaparks become reality, this strong push to include everyone in the WeHo community is starting to look like straightification to many long-time WeHo residents, many of whom were drawn to the city exactly because of it's proud, public, pro-LGBT agenda. Sure, WeHo's city officials say they have "no intention of shying away from the city's gay history," but what everyone's waiting to see is how shy they'll be when shaping the city's gay future.
· West Hollywood's increasing diversity inspires mixed emotions [LAT]