Going forward, Chicago’s historic LGBTQ+ neighborhood referred to as “Boystown” will be called “Northalsted” instead.
The neighborhood will be rebranded following an inclusivity survey, which asked respondents if the name “Boystown” was offensive for not being enough as it only represented — in name — one gender.
According to WGN-TV, the newly minted Northalsted will market itself as “America’s Proudest Neighborhood.”
The name, “Boystown,” has been in colloquial use since the 1980s.
What are the details?
The neighborhood’s business alliance voted to approve the change last week despite 58% of the survey’s respondents finding that the name change was unnecessary.
Just 20% of those surveyed said that they were offended by the name over its apparent lack of inclusivity.
“Boystown, in Lakeview, has been welcoming the LGBTQ community for three decades, but after a survey, some complained the name excluded women and gender nonbinary people,” the outlet reported.
WGN reported that about 8,000 people took the inclusivity survey.
Jen Gorden, a spokesperson for business alliance, told WMAQ-TV, “Times change. We’re all about inclusivity here. We want people to feel welcome.”
Of the move, Gordon also told the Chicago Tribune, “It definitely felt like we should be doing something about it. If (the name Boystown] was making even a small percentage of people feel uncomfortable, it’s not something we should be using to promote the neighborhood.”
Who launched the name change?
Earlier this year, resident Devlyn Camp launched a petition in attempt to change the name.
Camp’s petition — which apparently caught the eye of the community’s business alliance — noted that the “gendered nickname” is indicative of excluding “lesbian, transgender and intersex residents and visitors,” according to Newsweek, by perpetuating the “systemic transphobia, racism, and sexism that have plagued our neighborhood for decades.”
“It’s time to include all of us,” Camp told WLS this month. “We shouldn’t have people come to the neighborhood expecting only boys; there’s plenty of trans people, there’s plenty of nonbinary people.”
One unnamed resident told WLS that the name change simply isn’t necessary.
“I think this is a pretty historic neighborhood,” the resident said. “I don’t think there’s any reason to change the name.”
Another added, “Northalsted is pretty generic. It doesn’t signify the special neighborhood that Boystown is.”