RIP Gay Montrose? Community Members Say Yes, No and Maybe So

Categories: Spaced City

gayprideflag.jpg
According to some, Montrose is seeing fewer rainbows these days.
Montrose's "gayborhood" status is officially over. Or it's just like it has been for the past five to ten years. It depends on who you ask.

Hair Balls recently spoke with various movers and shakers of the neighborhood's GLBT community about Montrose, which was (and maybe still is?) one of the top gay and lesbian centers in the country. (As was previously reported in the Press's cover story "The Mayor of Montrose," LGBT activist Ray Hill estimates that the 'hood's gay population stands at less than 8 percent.)

"It's getting tougher and tougher for us bohemians to be [in Montrose]," says Sally Huffer, a community projects specialist at the Montrose Counseling Center.

Huffer, like many in the community, points to the steady gentrification of Montrose's once-grungy environs that has priced out the older gay residents as well as folks on fixed incomes. Huffer, who recently moved out of Montrose to live with her partner, adds, "Tolerance of gays and lesbians has increased so couples now feel more comfortable living in places like The Woodlands and Katy."

"It's been going on for years," says real estate agent Suzanne Anderson about members of the GLBT community moving to the Heights, Garden Oaks and Westbury. "The same thing happened in Oak Lawn [in Dallas] and Chelsea [in New York City]. The gay people fixed up everything and before you knew it, here came the straight people."

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Aaron's Angels, named after the late Aaron Scheerhoorn, will patrol Montrose to try to dissuade crime.
Crime may be playing a factor as well. Alan Everett, a lifelong Houston resident, has seen an increase of riffraff in Montrose.

"I believe [crime] has gotten significantly worse in the last five years," says Everett, who lives on the edge of Midtown and Montrose. "There have been more people from the outside coming into the Montrose to sell and buy drugs." Huffer notes that the Montrose Counseling Center, which provides LGBT-centric behavioral health and prevention services, has noticed that crimes committed against transgender victims are increasingly more violent.

Everett, along with Douglas Anderson, heads the Aaron Scheerhoorn Foundation for Change, a group that was organized to support those affected by the very public death of Aaron Scheerhorn in December 2010. A spinoff group has since formed called Aaron's Angels, where community members can receive training on crime watch by a Houston Police Department officer.

Aaron's Angels plans on conducting a neighborhood walk-through on a to-be-determined Saturday night/Sunday morning from midnight to 4 a.m. According to Everett, the group is sort of like the Q-Patrol, which formed after the 1991 murder of Paul Broussard.

Despite the perceived changes to the neighborhood's flavor, Ellen Cohen -- who, from 2006 to 2010, held the District 134 (which includes Montrose) office for the Texas House of Representatives -- thinks that basically everything has remained steady.

Says Cohen, a Democrat who is currently running for a District C city council seat, "Montrose is still very much the same. The only difference is the aging of the population."

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16 comments
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Morningcloud71
Morningcloud71

In 20 years, there will be no need for a "gay mecca" in any USA city!

David
David

I have lived in or near Montrose since I was 19 (1999).  The beautiful thing about it is that its an evolving, changing neighborhood.  The Montrose of the 1980's wasn't the Montrose of the 1930's , either. 

And yes, some gays have moved on.  But many haven't.  And I have friends who live in Oak Forest, Meyerland, The Heights, and even the outer burbs.  And we all still conisder Montrose to be the mothership of Gay Culture. 

This article is off base and Ray Hill doesn't speak for all gay people.  I wish the media woudl learn that!  Try interviewing someone else in the community!

Hillray
Hillray

One thing that hasn't changed is the commerce: as much money changes hands in the Montrose at Midnight as at noon. We are still where Houston comes to eat well and have fun.

Facebook_blah
Facebook_blah

Same thing is happening in Boystown, Chicago. 

Smith Dale34
Smith Dale34

This article is old news. The entire demographic of the Montrose area may change, but not as drastically as the former Fourth Ward, now gussied up and called "Midtown."

Alex Wukman
Alex Wukman

@quinney: Let's not kid ourselves. Steve Jansen wrote an ok post. He barely scratched the surface of an issue that is incredibly complex. In the approximately 10.5 paragraphs Jansen wrote he failed to provide historical perspective on what Montrose was and what it is becoming.

By deciding to interview only "movers and shakers" Jansen limited the issues that are effecting Montrose to agendas people want to push, available real estate from a realtor and public safety from the guy running the knockoff Guradian Angels.

The recent Free Press article, available here: http://bit.ly/pClKKB, dealt with the subject in a different fashion.

Freepresshouston
Freepresshouston

Seriously, did you copy and paste this article title from FPH's recent article? 

Wyatt
Wyatt

There aren't enough spelling and punctuation errors in this one for that to be true.

H_e_x
H_e_x

How can anyone copy and paste anything from your website if its only occasionally updated?

Old Freak
Old Freak

???just because Westbury has gotten gayer doesn't mean Montrose has gotten less gay.

Katy
Katy

Be gay, Montrose! Be gay!

Maybe Ray Hill just isn't staying up late enough these days.

Montrose might be 8% gay during the day, but it looks about 90% gay at night.

squinney
squinney

Good article Press !!!  Man I miss the old montrose about 1980 through about 1989.  Would not trade those memories.....Glad I got to live it back then.  What I like is that Montrose just EVOLVES.......and keeps evolving.  Who knows maybe some day soon there will be a Montrose better than the past......I doubt it, but being an optomist........

Montrosian
Montrosian

Montrose is still Montrose, and will be long after the yuppies are gone.

Montrose now, Montrose forever
Montrose now, Montrose forever

So the neighborhood is gentrifying and the grungy environs are changing which is driving the gays out. At the same time that the neighborhood is getting more dangerous and grungy, which is also driving the gays out.

?

MnMf
MnMf

Not criticizing the author, just saying there seems to be...less than a consensus as to why the gayborhood is getting less gay.

Rip
Rip

 Boo on this article.

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