Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gay Tourism in Cleveland?

Today’s WCPN 9:00 show focused on the effort to market Cleveland as a gay-friendly tourist destination. I got a bit of a heads-up on the issue with this article in the Gay People’s Chronicle. (Listen to the program)

The upshot is that the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is working with the Cleveland LGBT Community Center to put up a gay-specific web page on the Convention Bureau website and otherwise reach out to gays to come here.

One factoid that struck me: The overwhelming concern for gays traveling anywhere is that they will be safe. That is they will not be hassled, harassed or jumped when, for instance, holding hands in public with a partner. Think for a moment about how much that sucks. Think about how likely it is that someone willingly chooses a life where that happens. Think about that as you consider Ted Haggards’ miracle conversion from closet gay hypocrite to out ex-gay hypocrite.

Anyway, best of luck to Cleveland will all of that. I wonder about C-town and the safety thing. More importantly I wonder about overcoming the biggest barrier to generating tourism in Northeast Ohio – the fact that we have about 20 days a year of entirely nonsucky weather. I love the place, but let’s face facts.

As this moves forward, we need a Wingnut Wigout Watch. Someone on the Right is going to try to make political points with the increasingly alienated Culture Worriers. Some lawmaker is going to propose something along the lines of a state law barring tax dollars from being spent blah blah blah. They may even schedule a Wingnut Action Lobby Day around it. The clock is ticking on this one.

Finally I wonder if the Con Bureau and the LGBT Center have been in touch with Carrie Callahan. She might have some interesting ideas.