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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Boystown, Chicago’s Famed LGBTQ Neighborhood, Now Will Be Known As Northalsted

The Northalsted Business Alliance will no longer use "Boystown" in its neighborhood marketing campaigns to "ensure all members of the LGBTQ community feel welcome," leaders announced Wednesday.

The Northalsted Business Alliance said it's making plans to remove banners featuring the "Boystown" nickname.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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LAKEVIEW — Boystown will now be known as Northalsted in neighborhood marketing after calls for the LGBTQ enclave to be named something more inclusive.

The Northalsted Business Alliance announced Wednesday it was eliminating the use of “Boystown” in its marketing campaigns to be more inclusive of all genders.

The business alliance will now use the North Halsted strip’s street name in its marketing, along with a new slogan touting the area as “Chicago’s Proudest Neighborhood.”

Leaders of the business alliance said they are already making plans to replace the “Boystown” banners lining the strip.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Rainbow bike racks were installed earlier this year featuring “Boystown” in its design.

As social movements to protest police violence and systemic racism swept the country this year, Chicago’s LGBTQ community began grappling with its own long histories of anti-Black racism and transphobia.

Local queer activist Devlyn Camp launched a petition in July to push for a new neighborhood name.

RELATED: As Boystown Reckons With Racism And Transphobia, Petition Demands Gender-Neutral Name Change

Neighborhood business leaders launched a three-month survey to get more feedback. They opted for the name change even though the majority of people who responded said they supported keeping the Boystown branding.

Of the nearly 7,900 people who responded, 58 percent favored keeping the Boystown moniker and 80 percent said they don’t feel unwelcome by the name.

The change was made to “ensure all members of the LGBTQ community feel welcome in the business district,” the Northalsted Business Alliance said in its press release.

“As culture and language change and develop over time, we must listen to the community to support inclusivity, and this survey is a step towards gaining valuable insight,” NBA President Ramesh Ariyanayakam said at the time.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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