Originally published in The Metropolitan. Aug. 24, 2005
I’m fairly certain Bush and Co. would love to kick all the ‘mos-that’s short for gay-out of the good old U-S-of-A. Ha, I rhymed. His religious right company wouldn’t mind if the Muslims got the boot, too. But that’s for a different column.
Let’s pretend the Compassionate Conservative got his way. What would the U.S. be like if my sisters and I disappeared?
For starters, you can kiss off the only English-speaking employees in the hotel industry.
No one would bring you that extra pillow while you fly coach.
Forget about that five-course meal prepared by an executive chef at some swanky restaurant.
Women, simply, would be lost.
Hospitals would be short-staffed.
Our armed forces would crumble – that’s right folks, there are gays in the Army.
And you can say goodbye to softball.
To localize the issue a bit, Cherry Creek – both the mall and North – would become a ghost town for a couple of reasons.
First, no one would be there to explain the aesthetics of jeans. Secondly, there would be no clothes to sell. That’s right, kiss fashion goodbye.
My God, the ’80s might just come back.
In all seriousness, today, the GLBT Community has some serious economic clout.
The Indianapolis Star reported in June that, “The buying power behind the U.S. gay, lesbian and bisexual adult population is projected to be $610 billion strong in 2005, according to Witeck-Combs Communications, a market research company based in Washington. That number is up from $580 billion in 2004.
“In comparison, the disposable income of Hispanic Americans – both gay and straight – was $686 billion last year.”
And we all know how many more Hispanic-Americans there are compared to the queers. I mean, Texas – as in Bush’s Mother Ship – alone has more Hispanics than not.
If my math is correct, $610 billion is nearly 20 percent of this country’s Gross Domestic Product. Holy Disposable-Income, Batman.
Suppose it’s true that one-in-ten men are gay, as Dr. Kinsey suggested. That means of the 138,053,563 men living in the U.S., roughly 13,805,356 are gay. If the same is true for females that means of the 143,368,343 women in America, at least 14,336,834 are lesbians. Moreover, the U.S. GLBT population is approximately 28,142,190 proud.
Think about it. If 28,142,190 gays and lesbians are spending $610 billion a year, that’s a lot of glitter and plaid – respectively, of course. It is because of this, big cities all over the nation are pushing to build “Gay Districts.” In some circles, Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood is becoming known as “Gaypleton.”
Still, Denver is far behind – we’re talking the ’70s here – other metropolitans. The Gay Travel Guide listed Los Angeles and New York as the best cities to visit or relocate to if you’re family.
The rest are San Francisco, Washington, Miami, Dallas, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago and Seattle.
Philadelphia, recognizing the power of the gay dollar, launched a campaign to attract more GLBT tourists. GayWired.com reported Sunday gay tourists spent an average of $233 a day since the campaign was launched 14 months ago. That’s up 30 percent from before the ad blitz.
But the gays aren’t impacting just the economy today. Homosexuals have been leaving their mark on this world for many, many years. Can you say Plato? Yes, the creator of justice himself had a fancy for his fellow man.
So did Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Hans Christian Andersen, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Oscar Wilde, John – speaking of economics – Maynard Keynes, and Andy Warhol.
Famous lesbians include Margaret Fuller, Willa Cather, and Virginia Woolf.
And those nutty bi-sexuals have Alexander the Great to aspire to. Rumors have it he and Plato got it on.
Whether it’s Wall Street or Broadway, Ancient Greece or San Francisco, Studio 54 or Tracks, ‘mos have been and are leaving their impression on society. We may never have the right to marry, we may always face hate and oppression, but in America and the rest of the world, a day without a gay would just be … queer.