“OK wouldn’t be the right way to describe the neighborhood but neither would troubled,” said Metropolitan Police Sgt. Brett Parson, supervisor of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, which is staffed by openly homosexual members. “To compare it to other parts of the city, it is no worse.”
Sgt. Parson said the area is surrounded by low-income housing and has a lot of daytime commercial traffic.
“But at night,” he said, “it becomes almost exclusively a gathering place for gay, lesbian and transgender entertainment.”
Mr. Siegel and other homosexual business leaders are clamoring for a meeting with the mayor and council members to strike a deal. They either want a new enterprise zone for homosexual clubs or a guarantee that their strip-bar licenses can transfer to suitable locations.
Otherwise, some will refuse to move, Mr. Siegel said.
The District’s zoning and liquor laws restrict where strip clubs can relocate, and community opposition could derail moves by homosexual bars, dance clubs and theaters.
“We do have a concern that the NIMBYs and the puritans who routinely object to other people being able to choose adult entertainment will make it difficult for those businesses, if displaced, to find a new location,” said Richard J. Rosendall, vice president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
Mr. Williams said he was aware of the predicament facing the homosexual entertainment businesses and will work with them to find a resolution.
“I want to be very, very prudent in how we approach it,” he said. “We don’t take lightly the displacement of any business, regardless of what it is about. We want to be very serious about this.”
Judith Person contributed to this report.