There were some very ugly incidents in the 90s, which may well have been precisely because gay folks were becoming more prominent. There were several gay-bashing incidents. In one, a lesbian was assaulted, and the intent may have been rape--she resisted so furiously that the creeps involved beat her into unconciousness. They had been calling her dyke and similar names before they began beating her, so she was targeted precisely because of her perceived sexual orientation. In another incident, a gay man was beaten so badly that one of his retinas separated. By the time he received medical care, it was too late to save that situation, so he was blinded in one eye. Those incidents were relatively uncommon, a couple a year, although that of course means nothing to the victim, for whom one incident only is needed, and it's one too many. As i recall, the carnage did not last long. In both of the two cases to which i've alluded, those people were in the wrong neighborhoods to begin with. One was in the "pre-gay" Short Norht, and the other was in the levee neighborhood, both white trash neighborhoods.
The sudden, very rapid change in the Short North and Victorian Village were the product of several influences, although the sudden dramatic rise in property values, both commercial and residential, were the obvious results of the influx of gay and lesbian couples. The Short North is separated from downtown by the railroad yards. At the same time that all of the changes were beginning north of the railroad, the convention center was built south of the railroad, right next to the Hyatt Regency. They roll up the sidewalks downtown after eight, so the increased hotel population from the convention center meant people were heading into the Short North for evening entertainment. The arena was built in the same area, just to the west of the convention center.
Just north of where the arena is now located is the Battleship Building, mostly empty when the changes began. It became a popular place for artists becuse it had large lofts with good natural lighting. The North Market was built in a renovated, previously empty factory space just north of the Battleship Building. More than one successful restaurant or bar/restaurant opened near them. The folks at the Greek Orthodox Church had finally saved enough money, and the building of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral began in the early 90s, and it adds a good deal to the "upscale tone" of the neighborhood. It was, over the years, fascinating to watch the process.
This view is from High Street, looking just west of south. The Girl actually got a much better pciture of it from Goodale, as we were walking along the south side of Goodale Park. Deep blue sky with fluffy white clouds and the cathedral on the shoulder of the hill just there. It raised the profile of the Greek festival, too, which had always been modestly successful, but now became a major weekend for the neighborhood. Attempts at an Italian festival in Italian Village (just east of the Short North) hadn't done so well at the time i moved to Hilliard.
In my never humble opinion, it was the arrival of the gay/lesbian couples which completely and dramatically changed the area in a breathtakingly short period of time.