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Throw Back Thursday: Barry Graham’s WHRO segment on the growth of Norfolk’s gay community

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was one in Barry Graham’s Pride Month Series on WHRO in June 2023 to commemorate LGBTQ+ history in Hampton Roads. Published with permission.

By the mid-1970s, white flight was ravaging Norfolk.

As businesses and residents moved to the suburbs, the city’s LGBTQ community took notice.  A series of bars and businesses focused on gay clientele moved to downtown.

“Gay men were one of the few subsets of the population that were willing to go back into downtowns; downtown Chicago, downtown Cleveland, downtown Buffalo,” said Joe Amos, a gay man who’s lived in Norfolk since the 1970s. “Your typical straight white family – they wanted to get the hell out and go to the [suburbs].”

Ghent became a safe haven with a large LGBTQ community…

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