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Calls for Brighton and Hove "gay village"
Campaigners are pushing for part of a Brighton and Hove to be officially designated a “gay village”.
They want Brighton and Hove City Council to officially recognise the St James’s Street area for its gay community which they say would be a boost to tourism in the city.
However some fear that the move could lead to greater exclusion and create a “ghetto”.
The calls follow news this month that Liverpool has become the first city in Britain to include the Rainbow flag on their street signs around their newly designated gay quarter.
James Ledward, the editor of Gscene, said other cities benefited from having a designated gay village – something which was mooted two years ago for Brighton and Hove but never implemented.
He feared that any move to designate a gay village could be as long a drawn-out process as the move to fly the Rainbow flag at Hove Town Hall.
He added: “A common complaint from tourists is that people find it difficult to access the gay village when they visit Brighton.
“If you have a designated gay village, like an artists’ quarter, it can be a massive boost to tourism.
“In Brighton we do have large areas that are very gay but it would give a focus to the gay village of four blocks surrounding St James’s Street.”
LGBT activist Chris Cooke said he thought it was sad that Liverpool had beaten the city to the distinction of having the first rainbow street signs but felt a designated gay village wasn’t the way forward. He said: “The last thing we want is a big neon sign at the bottom of St James’s Street - that would do the opposite to what we want to achieve and make the area more exclusive.
“But whether we designate the area the gay village or not, the council should be investing serious money in the area to greatly improve the general environment." Ben Duncan, Brighton and Hove City Council’s Cabinet member for communities, equalities and public protec- tion, said: “We are looking closely at ways we can celebrate the part played by the LGBT community in this city.”
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