chapter
Introduction
Pages 11

In May 2011, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart featured a segment on the 10 gayest cities in America.1 The segment, called “Minneapolis is the New Gay,” compares Minneapolis, MN, America’s supposedly gayest city, with San Francisco, CA, which did not make the top 10 list. The segment draws on preconceptions of these two cities in the popular imagination-San Francisco is known as a gay-friendly city, whereas Midwestern Minneapolis is not considered a gay mecca. Initially, the segment seems to confirm these impressions as interviewees from San Francisco hail the city for its gay landmarks and interviewees from Minneapolis remark on the city’s bike paths. It is precisely this difference between rather queer San Francisco and rather unremarkable Minneapolis that serves as the basis for contrasting an outdated mode of being gay with a current mode of being gay. A young gay couple from Minneapolis that enjoys shopping at Target and baking banana bread is hailed as the “new gay” whereas a single middle-aged white gay man from San Francisco who is part of a gay men’s choir and a regular visitor to the Castro is deemed the “old gay.” The message of the segment is clear: the “new gay” couple fits seamlessly into everyday life-they are just like everyone else. The “old gay” man and his investment in a city that the segment deems a “historical recreation of a bygone gay culture” is behind the times. He hasn’t gotten the message yet that the new gay America has no interest in sex shops, bars, and rainbow flags.