Monday, May 21, 2007
Recently, (I can't find any links, so you'll have to take my word for it) the Advocate compiled a list of the top 10 cities for gay men and lesbians in the United States, and Dallas came in in the top 5. I can't remember exactly what ranking it was precisely, but I remember being fairly shocked that it was there. They base the rankings on things like population (of gays), single life, employment, civil rights laws on the books, the general environment towards gays, healthcare, and things like that.
This weekend, I was talking to Mandy and Victor about this, and they were telling me that Dallas was most likely about to elect a gay mayor (in what would be the first city in America to do so), and they already have a gay sheriff, and an openly gay county judge. The largest gay church in the world(!), with 3,500 members, the Cathedral of Hope is located in Dallas, and the gay population there is exploding.
I was perusing Time.com today, and found this article, The Lavender Heart of Texas, about precisely these things, and Dallas' future as the southern, and one of the United States' foremost, gay meccas. It mostly focuses on politics, and the unprecedented grassroots organizing of the gays there. Even the Human Rights Campaign, the federal (and arguably useless) activist group says its fundraiser in Dallas every year brings in more money than in any other city in the U.S. Dallas still has a ways to go to beat in Austin in overall liberalism, but it's catching up, and may even eclipse Austin soon.
The author attributes Dallas' cosmopolitan atmosphere (as opposed to "dowdy Austin") as a major factor bringing in the gays, along with the myriad of employment and social options. One thing I will say about Austin, as much as I love it, is that employment options here are definitely lacking, and an interesting gay social life is nonexistent. I'm not sure what would constitute "interesting," exactly, but from someone (me) who's been involved in as many "gay" activities as I could possibly find in this town, from the film festival, to AIDS work, to political groups, to purely social options, I can say with authority that it's lacking. Austin has a big gay population, but if you're in you're 20's, and want to meet other people in their 20's in an atmosphere that doesn't include places like trashy danceclubs filled with Aberzombies or MySpace, you're pretty much fucked. Which is not to say that there aren't a lot of young, gay people here, because there are, it just seems that the majority of gay men I meet not on the internet are middle-aged and in relationships. Which is great. For them. And they're lovely. But not relationship material. Whether that says more about Austin itself or about the young gay people that live here not being involved in anything, I'm not sure. Which is also not to say that I haven't met many other wonderful gay people my own age. But it was always on the internet. Which is what I've started to find really frustrating.